Darren Aronofsky new film mother! is a controversial biblical climate change allegory dressed in the trappings of a psychological horror movie. But, it’s also a showcase for how good Jennifer Lawrence is at yelling. She’s great at it! And throughout the film’s 121 minutes run time, she gets to scream a lot.
As Mother in mother!, Lawrence plays a young, wide-eyed wife who attempts to cater to the whims of her older poet husband, played by Javier Bardem. Bardem, credited as Him, invites more and more raucous guests into the beautiful, remote country house Mother dedicates all of her time to refurbishing and as the movie unwinds, chaos ensues.
There’s cannibalism, a mysterious yellow powder, Michelle Pfeiffer gets finger-blasted by Ed Harris, and Jennifer Lawrence screams through all of it. But who, in her position, wouldn’t?
We broke down the four wildest, most J-Law wail-inducing moments on mother!’s descent into madness. Watch out for the hole in the hardwood floor that bleeds, and watch out for spoilers, too.
4. That sink isn’t braced!
It feels really shitty to know that you aren’t being listened to, and Lawrence’s Mother knows this feeling all too well. She’s the one who rebuilt the entire house and she KNOWS that she hasn’t braced that kitchen sink yet, making it a dangerous perch for the impromptu funeral-goers who storm her home. When a pair of defiant mourners bounce on, and eventually break, the sink in an attempt to prove her wrong, Mother freaks out and banishes everyone from her house. It’s so hard to find a good plumber these days, especially when you and your husband live in a remote field on a separate plane of reality.
3. The Cain and Abel moment
Yikes, fratricide! Mother lets it rip as she watches two brothers fight, wrecking some of her furniture in the process. And when one of them caves in the other one’s skull with a doorknob, Mother is none too pleased about the loss of human life or the impending clean-up job. As her husband, Him, leaves her behind to take the dying brother to the hospital, Mother’s shrieks of, “please don’t leave me!” serve as a heart-wrenching prelude to her sobs.
2. I’m his mother!
This one is more of a yell, directed at Him right after the birth of their child. Him wants to share the baby with the frenzied hoard of followers right outside the doors of his writing room, but Mother flatly refuses. “I’m his mother!” says Mother when Him tries to invoke paternal authority. But Him clearly isn’t above playing the waiting game, and yanks their child out of Mother’s arms the instant she falls asleep.
In the film’s most disturbing sequence, Mother and Him’s baby is carelessly passed around the crowd of Him’s devotees, crying before a sickening snap indicates the death of the infant. And in a horrifying twist, the baby’s body has been quickly dismembered and devoured by the disciples of Him in an act of attrition. Obviously, Mother loses her fucking mind, first snatching back all of the pieces of her child from the crowd, then swiping at those gathered with a stray shard of glass. She screams all the while, a primal, loss-fueled expression of grief and despair.
mother! demanded a lot from Lawrence- she reportedly dislocated a rib while filming- but it also demanded a lot from its audience’s eardrums. Is it worth the strain? Depends on how you feel about heavy-handed metaphors.