So, yeah. There’s a new trailer for mother!, Darren Aronofsky’s newest project. We’ve … not quite figured out exactly what the movie’s supposed to be about yet, and while many folks have certainly made some intriguing guesses, the jury’s still out on what it will be. Judging by Aronofsky’s past work (Pi, Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain), watching it may just lead to even more questions—not that that’s a bad thing.
But this trailer certainly doesn’t shed too much light on mother!‘s subject matter. Here, you’ve got Jennifer Lawrence walking through what looks like an abandoned, empty house, while a voice over of her ostensibly speaking to Ed Harris’ character, who explains that he’s looking for a room. Javier Bardem, who plays Lawrence’s husband in the movie, says Harris’ character thought they owned a bed and breakfast. Eventually more and more people start showing up to the house, invited by Harris’ character. It spirals outward from there, with Bardem yelling at Lawrence about just wanting to “[bring] life into this house.” Of course, then you’ve also got the standard-issue smash cuts at the end with a bunch of very provocative and intriguing shots flying by super fast.
I’m not going to try to hazard a guess as to the symbolic meaning of the house, but something stuck out to me in this trailer: Bardem’s character gaslights Lawrence’s character a little bit. She’s concerned about this mysterious stranger who shows up to their home, and she tells him, “He has pictures of you in his luggage,” to which he replies, “Why are you looking in his luggage?” It’s possible it’s a misdirect and just a good sound cut, but it’s telling that in this context, it makes him sound like he’s instantly turning the blame back onto her, talking about what she did wrong, rather than what’s actually happening. Moreover, the idea that Harris’ character thinks this was a bed and breakfast makes me think that he’s actually being straight up with that, and that Lawrence’s character is either a.) an amnesiac or suffers from Alzheimer’s, which would lead her to forget things like this and Bardem is her guardian/caretaker/husband, or b.) she’s actually the “mother” in this case, and Bardem is actually her son, in which case the “a” possibility above could still be true.
Hey, I’m speculating, and if you spent any time with that speculation thread I made about Rey’s parentage in The Last Jedi, then you know my speculations are as wild as they come. I’m just shooting in the dark. But exploring mental illness and the obsessions people have with the human condition are kind of hallmarks of Aronofsky’s work. Requiem was about addiction and pride (to a point). Black Swan was about envy, and Pi is about paranoia and obsession. It would be fitting that mother! also touches on similar subject matter, I think, rather than just being a straight up thriller or horror flick.
Anyway, we’ll find out what’s what when mother! comes out on September 15th.
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