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‘mother!’: Everything You Need to Know About Darren Aronofsky’s Mysterious New Thriller

A few salient details have emerged in recent months.

mother! Jennifer Lawrence


“Noah” didn’t land with the same impact as “Black Swan,” but Darren Aronofsky appears to be back to his old self with “mother!” As far as we can tell, anyway — the writer/director has been intentionally vague about the particulars of his new thriller, which features an impressive ensemble cast led by Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris, and Domhnall Gleeson.

Even so, we’ve been able to glean a good deal these last several months. Here’s what to know before finally seeing the movie later this month.

Yes, the title is really stylized that way.

A lowercase “m”? An exclamation mark? You really are crazy, Darren!

Aronofsky wants us to know as little about it as possible.

Perhaps in an attempt to prevent articles just like this one, the writer/director has been especially tight-lipped about his new film. The premise — “A couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence” — is as brief as it is light on specifics, and it seems that all involved are bound to secrecy. If that’s meant to increase anticipation for the film, it’s been effective so far.

Jennifer Lawrence dislocated a rib during filming because she was hyperventilating so much.

“I had to go to a darker place than I’ve ever been in my life,” the actress told Vogue for her recent cover story. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to come out ok.” She had to be placed on oxygen after hyperventilating during one scene, which led to a humorously dark exchange: “I have oxygen tubes in my nostrils, and Darren’s like, ‘It was out of focus; we’ve got to do it again,’” Lawrence added. “And I was just like, ‘Go fuck yourself.’”


People are having strong reactions.

“Most people, after they see the film, they don’t even wanna look at me,” Aronofsky recently told Vulture. Anthony Bourdain, who famously disliked Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver,” has said that “mother!” is “dark, dark, brilliant and will upset the fuck out of people,” calling it a “good poke in eye to convention.” If the “Requiem for a Dream,” “Pi,” and “The Wrestler” director is trying to provoke, it appears he’s been successful so far.

It’s subtly political, but that isn’t the focus.

“I think all my early films were more about ideas,” Aronofsky said at the Reykjavik Film Festival late last year. When it came to ‘Noah,’ there was this clear environmental statement in the original gospel, which was interesting to push forward. My latest project probably has similar political intentions behind it, but first and foremost responsibility as a narrative filmmaker is making something that is emotional and can connect with an audience.”

The wait will soon be over.

“mother!” will have its world premiere in Venice this Tuesday, September 5, and arrives in theaters 10 days later.

Aronofsky’s greatest hope is appropriately strange.

“I just wanted the movie to howl at the moon,” he added in his Vulture interview.

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