A woman (Jennifer Lawrence) and her middle-aged, successful writer, husband (Javier Bardem) celebrate moving into their large, newly renovated, remotely located, early 20th century home. That evening – unexpectedly - there’s a knock at the door. A physician (Ed Harris) has been told that the couple’s home is a bed and breakfast. The doctor recognizes the writer whose work he deeply admires. The two bond over drinks. The doctor accepts the writer’s invitation to stay over. His wife not exactly thrilled about a stranger staying the night. The next day the doctor’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrives with the intent of staying for a while. Things go from strange to outright bizarre when the couples’ adult sons show up to confront their parents over the terms of their father’s will.
This is the start of an invasion of the household by a series of strangers with the husband comfortable with the arrivals.
Mother! is a bad film! And, it is Dead on Arrival! It starts with the all-too-common big, old, isolated house as the setting. I guess scary things just can’t happen in a big city high-rise. The early scenes feature Ms. Lawrence in teasingly revealing nightwear. And for some reason, and maybe the symbolism escapes me, but she’s barefoot in every scene; even when she’s walking around a dirty basement.
The cinematography scheme shoots the actors very closely, possibly to create a sense of intimacy between them and the audience.
The film develops where the viewer, like the wife, try to figure out the abnormal goings on which don’t bother the husband. Is he naïve or just overly generous, or insensitive or clueless in accepting an increasingly large number of “guests” into their house? As more people arrive the more bizarre events become.
Ultimately, all of these highly perplexing happenings have to be explained. And in the end, they are not. This failure results in this film’s failure.
The performances are adequate; except for Michelle Pfeiffer who is outstanding as the catty, doctor’s wife. However, in horror films, it’s the story itself which is the star.
As to the diversity rating, the film gets an “A”. The story is such that the cast is as diverse as could be expected in light of the remote, rural setting.
But by not tying up its loose ends and not giving the viewers the satisfactory explanation of what they just saw, Mother! you failed! And you are Dead on Arrival!
Mother! is two hours and one minute in length and is rated R.