I'm going through a crisis of faith with my reviews: I thought It was nothing special last weekend, and having just returned from Edinburgh's Omni Vue cinema, I have to say Mother! is also a film to avoid. How could The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw have given it five stars? The movie is a Monty Python sketch turned into Hollywood horror: you have a young woman in a large wooden house of umpteen rooms, suddenly visited by an army of guests who show her no respect. It launches into absurdity, taking the idea of having a famous poet-husband to a poetically ridiculous conclusion.
Perhaps this is why the film failed for me; by the passing of the seventh ridiculous milestone of silliness, I'd relaxed, wondering what the conclusion would be. I no longer cared about the characters or the scenes, in what is evidently a dreamscape or an otherworldly fantasy. I waited only for the punchline.
Let me hazard a guess as to the nature of the story anyway: it's about a girl married to a poet, and she can can never be the most important thing to him. What follows is perhaps her paranoid fantasy, concluding with her imagining it being the turn for a new woman to reap the cycle of anonymity and lack of appreciation. Is the entire film her twisted fantasy? Is it the writer/director's imagining of what it feels like to be the spouse of a famous poet?
Does it matter? The film descends to such depths, such extremes, that I withdrew my emotional investment. Instead, past titles came back to me, haunting me: Logan Lucky, The Limehouse Golem, It. Mother! feels like the fourth film in a row that's left me underwhelmed. Have I become so hard to satisfy? Is it some kind of curse, condemning me to never enjoying the cinema again? Is Netflix the answer? Is Amazon Prime? I enter my own paranoid fantasy as the victim of a curse, of a thing I love turned to ashes. Why are all the films I've been watching so bloody awful? Even Chris Nolan's Dunkirk was nothing like as good as the critics praised it.
Weird fact: as I watched Mother! just now with two colleagues from work, halfway through the film one of the colleagues brought out her smartphone and lit up the aisle with her texting. I watched her delighted face scanning the text, before I asked her to stop: 'I don't think you can do this here. Please, please can you stop this.' She stopped soon after. Perhaps all these films are reflecting my life at this juncture, and everything is ceasing to make sense. Why would you bring out your smartphone and start texting during a film? Why would Aronofosky direct a film this dark and this silly? They say the best films prompt all kinds of questions, but I don't think these are the kind that they mean.