Let’s be honest. These days, most of the moviegoers buy the tickets expecting to see Vin Diesel flying through the air catching his amnesic ex-wife. And because of that kind of unrealistic expectations, a lot of people who went to see mother! end up very confused and frustrated, not getting the point of the whole story. And it is easy to understand why.
mother! is a very deep and emotional film with a premise that is definitely not so clear for the average viewer, specially if they see the movie just once. So, in order to find out what is exactly going on in this movie, it is necessary, not only reading between lines, but also paying extra attention to the keys given by Aronofsky and Jennifer Lawrence in several promotional interviews.
So if you left the movie theater with more questions than answers, this is the right post for you. Without further ado, let’s start with the Analysis and Explanation of mother!
1 ^ Is there a post-credit scene in mother! ?
The end of mother! is so ambiguous and confusing, at least the first time you see it, that it is not even weird to find some people staying through the credits waiting for a final clarifying scene giving some light to the convoluted plot … but no. mother! has no post-credits scenes.
2 ^ Why the title of the movie «mother!» is written in lowercase?
This is perhaps the most important clue the director gives about what the fuck is actually going on in the movie. If you see all the credits at the end of the movie, absolutely every single word is in lowercase- the names of the actors, the director, the titles, the characters, including Jennifer Lawrence’s mother. The ONLY exception (not related to Paramore Song, thanks) to is the character of Javier Bardem, who is named as Him, starting in capital letters. Any idea about who is Him?
3 ^ What does the character of Jennifer Lawrence represent?
The most popular theory, backed up by the interviews that Jennifer Lawrence has given to Variety, People and Entertainment Weekly, is the one that claims her character represents Mother Earth, or Mother Nature… and that would explain perfectly why the character’s name is mother. I have some issues with that theory, because in principle that would not explain the true nature of mother’s son, nor explain the heart of the house, which we see with some frequency in the course of the tape.
For me, the character of Jennifer Lawrence represents Life. And I will explain why in the answer of the next questions.
4 ^ What does the house represent?
It is quite evident that within the allegory created by Aronofsky, the character of Lawrence and the house itself represent something that we are not seeing with the naked eye. It is obvious that the house represents Planet Earth, the place humans call home, claiming it to be ours.
Life (Lawrence) is in charge of embellishing the Earth with time, dedication and effort, to be the paradise Him can be proud of, and live happily ever after.
More evidence that Lawrence’s character represents Life is the fact Him always keeps her IN the house. If Life abandons Planet Earth, it is the end. No animals, no humans, no plants, NOTHING. It would also explain why Him keeps ignoring her. After all, Life and Earth are not goals, they are simply means to sustain the creation in which Him is really interested.
5 ^ What does the character of Javier Bardem represent?
I think that at this point it is quite clear that the character of Javier Bardem represents God. And not just any god, as we shall see later, it is quite obvious that it represents the God of the Judeo-Christian tradition.This is even more evident at the end when he himself acknowledges that he can not be satisfied because of his very nature as Creator and that he is always ready to forgive and start from scratch.
6 ^ What does the crystal represent?
At the end of the film we see that the crystal mother and Him protect so much in a shelf in his study, is actually the essence of his wife, that is the Essence of Life. Only the very essence of life can bring back to Planet Earth from a state of destruction to a state of renewal.
Now, each incarnation of Life brings with it its own essence that is cultivated with the passage of time.
7 ^ What does the breaking of the crystal represent?
In the film we see how the two visitors portrayed by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer break the crystal, that is they broke the essence of life. What does this mean?
That scene is without doubt a direct reference to the Garden of Eden and the so-called original sin. If we read the first chapters of Genesis, Adam and Eve were created as immortal creatures, a condition they lost in the instant they ate the «forbidden fruit.» It is very logical that this forbidden fruit was the essence of its own immortality and in the same way that a laboratory sample is destroyed when studied and analyzed, the moment Adam and Eve took the fruit to «eat it» or learn what it was, the essence of their immortality is destroyed. They were going to die.
In the film, the visitors had maintained a certain balance between their desires, those of Him and those of mother, until the glass broke and the real problems began.
8 ^ What is that yellow powder that mother drinks in several points in the movie?
The director has said that this yellow powder is a direct reference to works of Victorian literature, which some have connected with a tale written by Charlotte Perkins – The Yellow Wallpaper .
In this book the yellow color represents the break point between the madness and the sanity of the main character. And it is evident that exactly the same thing happens in mother!.
Life has to be balanced and harmonious, but when there are disturbances, Life reacts and not in a very pleasant way, as we see in the moment of the flood and then again, reaching the end of the film.
Life tries to control itself, and this is true from the scientific point of view, since life itself is very flexible to changes, but it has a limit point. The yellow powder represents that flexibility, that capacity of adaptation of Life. From the allegorical point of view of the movie, that flexibility and break point are represented as the limit between sanity and madness.
9 ^ What does the heart inside the walls represent?
It represents the health of the Earth, fading and shrinking every time the humankind gets to expand. The human beings with our careless attitude towards the Planet, that place we like to call home, we are damaging the health of the Earth, slowly until the very end, where there won’t be anything left but death and destruction.
10 ^ What do the intruders represent?
We have already said that Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer represent allegorical versions of Adam and Eve. But let’s analyze a little more.
Man is a sincere fan of Him, he is innocent and mostly good. However, his humanity is represented in a vice: the cigarette, the Man knows that his humanity makes him vulnerable, much more when he is alone. That is why Him decides to assign her a companion and here is the allegory of the rib, when mother enters the bathroom where the man is vomiting, she can see a wound on his side. Precisely the rib. The next day, the woman shows up.
Now what does the Woman represent? Obviously Eva, but it is essentially a mixture between Eve and the Devil. Eve is quickly tempted to take the crystal, even though Him and mother had repeatedly warned her not to do so. So it is the evil in temptation that inspires the desire to destroy Life.
The sons of man and woman represent Cain, the elder, and Abel the younger. And the murder is a faithful reflection of what happened to both in the book of Genesis.
The intruders who arrive after the death of the younger son are the people of earth after the original sin, which are constantly altering, damaging and disrupting the balance that Life has imposed on the planet. The same attitude of the settlers makes possible the flooding of the house … And we know what FLOOD we are talking about .In other words, this part represents what we saw in another Aronofsky movie: Noah.
11 ^ What is written in the Poet’s New Book?
After the incident with the flood, He begins to value Life again and she gets pregnant. This hope inspire Him to write a new book, which represents the New Testament.
Although we do not really know what he wrote, we have an idea because of the vision of mother, a new creation, purer than the previous one, that is, exactly what the New Testament promises: new heavens and a new Earth.
12 ^ What does the sequence of the second invasion in the house mean?
After the book is launched, thousands of fans begin to arrive at the house.This is a representation of how the New Testament attracted a new generation of believers, which eventually generated in another abusive population with the planet and life itself.
Many took advantage of this fanaticism to commit monstrous crimes and enslave others, which is evident in the scenes where mother sees those who proclaim themselves promoters of The Word, like the editor of the Poet, committing murder in cold blood and willing to destroy the life, as part of the chaos generated.
13 ^ What does the baby represent?
The child represents the union of the Creator and Life, a sacred being that can combine both properties. And we all know who the Son of God is.
But if there is any doubt, the moment he takes his son from Life and gives it to the humankind to share his divinity, he seems to have made a monstrous mistake because the mob not only causes the death of the baby (passion and crucifixion), but then proceed to eat his flesh, in the most uncomfortable scene of the entire film and which represents the belief that you can eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood. Creepy, isn’t it?
14 ^ What does the end of the movie «mother!» Mean?
In the end we see mother, desperate after the act of cruelty of the intruders with her perfect and sacred son, she proceed to stab the perpetrators with a broken glass, but they react beating her without mercy until Him shows up and rescues her.
This represents the capacity of life to collect the crimes of those who do not respect it: dictators, executioners, tyrants, killers, rapers and autocrats always end up falling because of the same wars and crimes they cause. It is life passing the collection account. That total disdain for life is what the beating represent.
Then mother, using the same lighter from the First Visitor, uses the gas from the house heater in order to destroy the whole place.
This is a vision of the Apocalypse. Life eventually loses its equilibrium point and the only thing left is destruction and death.
15 ^ What does the final scene of mother! mean?
The Poet extracts the essence of Life from his wife, who asks him why she was not enough. He answers saying life itself is not enough, because he is always looking for something different, new, to create, like humans, creatures he find amusing and interesting.
He does not lose hope that in a new cycle, perhaps, balance and harmony will endure and new visitors will respect the owners of the house and decide to collaborate, instead of simply taking everything they can, as long as they can.
Questions? Annotations? Doubts? Insults? The comments section is open just below this post. With nothing left to say, we’ll see (or read) each other in another post of Analysis and Explanations in El Sabanero X.