Published Date: 13/09/2017
Could there be a more ominous sound than an unexpected knock at the door?
Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) and Him (Javier Bardem) live in a seemingly idyllic existence in a secluded paradise. But the couple’s relationship is tested when Man (Ed Harris) and Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrive at their home uninvited.
“mother! begins as a chamber story about a marriage. At the centre is a woman who is asked to give and give and give until she can give nothing more. Eventually, the chamber story can't contain the pressure boiling inside. It becomes something else...” Writer / Director Darren Aronofsky
The thriller mother! began when writer / director Darren Aronofsky spent five fevered days at his keyboard alone in an empty house. In 5 days he was holding a rough draft of mother! in his hands, in complete contrast to his previous six films, which had gestated for years. “Within a year we were rolling cameras.”
We are huge fans of Academy Award Winner (Silver Linings Playbook) and three-time nominee (Joy, American Hustle, Winter’s Bone), Jennifer Lawrence, and for Aronofsky, she created a path for getting the film made. He recalled: “When you have Jen Lawrence, you have a movie.”
Lawrence saying yes was about more than adding a home invasion horror tale to her repertoire. “One of the greatest things that can happen to you as an artist is to be a part of a movie that starts conversation because it’s an original idea, completely unique,” says Lawrence. “Even though we’re shooting things that are eerie, the allegory is so much bigger. It’s what it all means.
“There’s a million different facets to this movie that certain people are going to relate to, be scared of, intrigued by,” continues Lawrence. She describes the lure of playing mother, the adoring wife and muse to Javier Bardem’s enigmatic poet: “Falling in love is scary. Being vulnerable? Terrifying. Not letting yourself be vulnerable? Also, terrifying.”
“It’s one thing to make something lukewarm,” says Lawrence. "It's another to make something scalding hot. There’s definitely a moment in this movie where some will say, ‘Darren, you’re taking this too far’ and storm out of the theatre. But I wouldn’t have been there if I hadn’t already thrown the script across my hotel room in New York and thought this guy is crazy. But he has to take it all the way. I think he was right to not shy back and be afraid.”
Almost unheard of, mother! was afforded a three month rehearsal period. Using a secluded Brooklyn warehouse Aronofsky had a scale blueprint for the house taped out on the floor and he and his collaborator Matthew Libatique, the Oscar nominee (Black Swan) and cinematographer on six of Aronofsky’s films, shot a test version of the entire film. There were no walls in the rehearsal space, just the tape on the floor demarcating the space they would ultimately build. Recalls Aronofsky, “nonetheless we did every single shot, every single scene. Andy Weisblum, my editor, cut it together. We were able to look at a 90-minute version” sans hair and makeup. “Basically we were getting a sense of the camera movements, the progression and arc of the characters throughout the film before we ever started to shoot.”
During the rehearsal period, Aronofsky confesses he was anxious – Lawrence seemed so relaxed, the role was so different from anything she had done and he was uncertain whether the part he envisioned for her was possible. But by the time they reached the start of production in Montreal, he realised it was her process – she was finding mother. “I actually probably didn’t meet the character that Jen portrays in the film until the first day of shooting when she showed up in costume, hair and barefoot,” he says. “She’s barefoot the whole movie. mother started to come alive in front of me. The amount of raw talent was insane.”
Of course we will not say too much about the film but suffice to say with a director on top of his game, working with a trusted crew and a star studded cast, mother! is a film not to be missed in a darkened Showcase Cinema - just be sure and locate your arm rest to grip!!
mother! opens at Showcase on September 15
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