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Mother! is an American psychological horror movie written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, and is starred by Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer. The movie was first released on 13 September 2017 in the USA. The plot follows the story of a couple whose relationship is tested when one day, an uninvited guest shows up at their home and brings disorder to their peaceful home.
The film is a literal allegory of the creation of Earth, and the history of the birth of humanity, as created by God, and the events that unfold in the film follow the stories of man and woman upon the Earth based on a biblical structure. Mother! reflects on the evolution of the religion Christianity. The film reflects the history of humankind’s time on earth and an honest portrayal of their corrupt behavior has eventually lead to Earth’s destruction. The stories as told in the Bible can be seen represented in the movie.
According to the director, Aronofsky, Mother! act as a cautionary tale to tell people about their actions and wrongdoings that are causing harm and danger to the environment. Audiences are experiencing the evolution of human history from the perspective of Mother Earth, the giver of life and home. The behaviors of people after being introduced by the Bible can be examined through the second chaos (012311) that occurred in the house. At this point, humanity treats Mother cruelly and enters her house like a raid. The people worship Him and ask Him to leave a mark on their foreheads () and they come up with their own ritual to worship God (). However, they have no respect towards Mother. They tear the house apart, they tried to steal whatever is possible in the house, some even vandalize on the wall, saying that it is to prove they were at the house (). They even trampled on her when she tried to protect her son(). This whole chaos scene is representing how humanity loves God and is being obsessive towards their own religion, but completely ignoring the fact that their actions are destroying Earth such as global warming, pollution, and other environmental issues. The costumes wore by the main character such as Him and Mother are very casual and simple which indicates that it can be representing any generation from traditional to modern times as the ill-treatment towards our Mother Earth is happening all the time.
In this film, time is irrelevant for the storytelling, in which the character Mother, is reborn twice, with different faces, in the first and the last scene of the movie, on the same setting, which was on her bed. In this sense, time is manipulatable in Mother! as He can recreate His world over and over again. The entire film tells its story by illustrating the changes of time in the context of the period of events that take place in the Bible. In scenes, 00:16:53 to 00:16:58/ which He helps covers Man’s wound actually is referring to the biblical God who took a bone out of Adam to create his wife, Eve. On the next day (00:20:24), Eve appeared in front of the house and the Man introduces her as his wife. And next in the scene (00:35:25) when the couple breaks the crystal in His room, it symbolizes the event where Adam and Eve ate the fruit they were told not to eat by God. The murder of Abel by Cain in the Bible is also represented in the movie by the two sons of the Man and Woman which the younger son killed the oldest son with a doorknob. Next, in 00:56:59, we can see that more people came flooding into the house without the permission of Mother, and then a few people keep on sitting on the unbraced sink even though Mother warned them until they finally broke the sink and Mother breaks down and ask everyone in the house to leave. This signifies the happening of the Genesis flood where God summons the great flood to wipe out the heavily corrupted humankind on Earth.
Media and communication play an important role throughout the movie to send the message to audiences, especially when strong symbolism is used in the film. Every character or object portrayed through the narrative is a symbol of a character or a story in the Bible. The character played by Javier Bardem represents the biblical God, the creator of humankind, while the Man and Woman (as played by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer) are God’s first humans in the Bible, Adam and Eve as they are the first two persons to enter the house in the movie. The character Mother, represents Mother Nature, as she spends most of her time taking care of the home, and is constantly seen trying to protect the home from destruction. The house and Mother are one, as it is seen in the movie several times that she reaches out her hands on the wall and she could feel the heartbeat of the house as if it is her own heart.
As the story goes, the Man and Woman are both tempted to touch the Crystal in His room, while Mother is seen warning them to stay away from it numerous times although eventually, they broke the crystal. The crystal is the representation of the Apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil mentioned in the Bible, which God warned them not to eat from. The next two persons who show up in the house are the two sons of the Man and Woman, who are named as Younger Brother and Oldest Son in the credits, are supposed to portray the biblical story of Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve’s sons. As a bigger picture, the film is a metaphor of the relationship between mother Earth, God, and humans as the history take place since the beginning of time in the Bible, which is the reason behind the lowercase spelling in the end credits, except the character, Him, showing Him, as the Greatest above all.
The cinematography of the movie also played a crucial role in the film, which the shot greatly affects the narrative power. The majority of the shots in the film are filmed with shots either are shot from behind Mother’s character, close-up to Mother’s face, or from what Mother is seeing through her view. This lets the audience experience from Mother’s perspective and pays more attention to her emotions and through that audiences can relate to how Mother reacts the way she reacts to the series of events that happens throughout the movie.
To sum up, Mother! is a movie that sends a strong environmental message, and at the same time, reflects on how we ourselves have been treating our Earth since the beginning of the time of human existence.