Be afraid, be very afraid. Brutal, but brilliant Discuss this article

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“Baby?” That’s the first thing we hear in Darren Aronofsky’s unhinged psychodrama, an instant landmark of test-your-limits cinema. It’s the gentle, groggy call of a young wife whose name is never mentioned (Jennifer Lawrence, increasingly rattled) who wakes up alone in bed, uncertain where her intense poet husband (Javier Bardem) is or her general status in the isolated farmhouse they’re renovating. But “Baby?” is also a clue into the deeper mummy drama to come. Will there be a baby for them? And if so, when? Will it be too soon, or not soon enough? To compare Mother! to other mama-minded thrillers like Rosemary’s Baby, Don’t Look Now and The Babadook is almost selling it short. This one’s a crucible of sweaty pre-natal panic.

There’s exquisite control in the way Aronofsky eases us into his nightmare, working from an original script that must represent hundreds of hours of therapy. There’s a tension between this couple: a war of aloofness and neediness. So far, so Polanskian.

Given how deliciously unsettling this first hour is, it’s hard to know precisely when the movie slips the leash of reality. Mother! is a movie that invents new shades of mania. You cringe at the viciousness of the brutal, terrible climax, in what is no doubt the most radical studio film in forever. Grappling with it is the moviegoing challenge of the year.

The bottom line
Be afraid, be very afraid. Brutal, but brilliant.

By Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out Doha,


  • Duration: 121
  • Released: Thu, 05 Oct
  • Language: English
  • Director: Darren Aronofsky
  • Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris

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