Mother! Explained: What Does It All Mean?

The Bible, Ecology, Feminism And Other Meanings Of The Thriller Mother! The Meaning Of The Film “Mother!” With Jennifer Lawrence, What Is This Thriller About? Plot Analysis & Ending Explained.

Country: USA

Genre: drama, thriller

Year of production: 2017

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleason

The meaning of the film Mother! is debatable. More precisely, there are several meanings in the picture, and its interpretation depends on the angle of view of the viewer. Here you can see the conflict between man and woman, poet and muse, man and nature. Also in the painting by Darren Aronofsky there are several references to the Bible.

What is the movie about

Film Mother! begins with the fact that a man unloads a crystal on a shelf, after which his house is transformed. Then a certain young woman wakes up in a dark room… It’s He and She, husband (Javier Bardem) and wife (Jennifer Lawrence), and their relationship is far from ideal.

the main charactersJavier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence in the lead roles. Frame from the film.

The man is a famous poet, and now he is completely immersed in a creative crisis. The wife tries to support him, but he, unwittingly, is moving away more and more.

Soon a strange old man comes to their house, who for some reason decided that they were renting a room. From this moment strange things begin in the house.

Ideas that formed the basis of the plot

Darren Aronofsky’s film is deeply metaphorical. The basis of the film Mother! formed the ideas of feminism and the destruction of nature. The film also uses a religious metaphor.

The director said that the idea of ​​the picture is that, unfortunately, it is impossible to stop what is happening to the planet. Aronofsky admits that he “has accumulated a lot of anger and rage,” and he wanted to throw out all the emotions in one feeling.

In the film Mother! there is also a hidden meaning, which, according to the director, “not everyone will like it.”

The heroine Jennifer Lawrence personifies the archetype of a woman, wife, mother, muse, Virgin, Earth, Universe. The hero of Bardem is a man, a husband, a father, a writer, God-creator and devil-destroyer all rolled into one.

The picture talks not only on eternal biblical topics, but also on everyday ones. She tells not only about the consumer attitude to nature or about the current problem of religious fanaticism, but also about women who were not heard, abandoned for some shaky goals. About men for whom career and fame are more important than family, and about people mindlessly killing each other.

The meaning of the film

Film Mother! is an allegorical and deeply philosophical reflection on the essence of human existence. The picture is saturated with biblical allusions and images. At least five layers can be distinguished in the semantic structure of this film.

The story of a poet who imagines himself a prophet

This is the simplest explanation of the events taking place in the film. The hero of Bardem, once a successful and popular poet, is experiencing a creative crisis. He has a rather high opinion of himself and his work. These ideas are fed in him and his wife.

She loves him endlessly, and he just lets her love him. He is one of those men who “marry their work” and value only selfless devotion in the women around.

While the husband is basking in the rays of glory, his wife meekly performs all earthly work and literally rebuilds the house on the ashes.

There are no prohibitions for a man, but his wife lives in a mode of self-denial. But that’s not enough for him…

Strangers invade their lives, symbolizing some kind of destructive force. First, one guest appears in the house. He brings the disease (coughs up blood) and at the same time violates the prohibitions: he smokes in the house. Then his wife appears, who asks the heroine Lawrence unceremonious questions. Later, the sons of this strange married couple appear, one of whom kills the other …

The woman desperately tries to keep her husband at home, but he does not hear her, and brings a whole crowd of worshipers into the house who worship him as God. With their arrival, real horror reigns in the house.

crowds of fansFrame from the film.

The poet imagines himself to be a messiah, whose word is capable of saving mankind from all troubles. He strives to be in the crowd he created, and at the same time he forgets about his wife and child.

Toward the end, the man finally destroys his family – literally and figuratively. And finds a new life partner…

The story of the poet and his muse

The heroine Jennifer Lawrence personifies the inspiration of the poet, his muse or talent. However, a man is quite cruel with his fragile gift.

Throughout the picture and until the very end, he wastes it in vain, for the sake of fleeting desires. He wants to be recognizable and dreams of fame.

The carnal intercourse of the poet and the muse represents the birth of the work (the main characters have a child). Aronofsky emphasizes that Bardem’s hero turns out to be unworthy of his genius: he gives his work to be torn to pieces by the crowd. After that, his muse fades away.

In the finale, belated repentance comes to the poet, and he retains the remnants of inspiration, which are represented by a fragile crystal.

fragile crystalFrame from the film.

Destruction of nature

The personification of nature is the house in which the heroes of Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence live, and the title character himself – Mom. The meaning of everything that happens is that a person is not only selfish, but also self-centered. Before the premiere of the film, the audience was given leaflets with a “prayer to nature”, the content of which resembles a reworked prayer “Our Father”. One of the lines of this prayer sounds like this: “Do not lead us to selfish devouring and destruction, which is – the thirst for overconsumption.”

The culmination is a dialogue in which the character of Bardem says the following words: “I have always had enough of everything. This is my essence.”

The director put this at the end of the picture to clearly indicate what exactly was the cause of the drama that had played out.


Some analyzes and reviews say that one of the meanings of the film is the oppression of the submissive feminine by the patriarchal masculine.

To emphasize this, Aronofsky made a vivid reference to one work with a fairly feminist content – to the novella “The Yellow Wallpaper”, which was written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

According to Gilman’s story, a woman locked in a room begins to see another woman behind the yellow wallpaper and longs to free her. In the film, the character Jennifer Lawrence hears the heartbeat of the house in which she and her husband live and makes an unsuccessful attempt to “free” him. From the same film, the yellow color of the walls, personifying captivity, was also taken. Thanks to him, in particular, the film creates an oppressive, almost painful atmosphere.

heartbeat at homeFrame from the film.

Religious metaphor

According to Aronofsky, his tape contained the contents of the Old and New Testaments. Jennifer Lawrence in an interview said that the house symbolizes a personal paradise. At the very top is the sanctuary of God, where the process of creation takes place. In the lower part of the house, in the basement, eternal darkness lives and a flame burns.

The meaning lies in the metaphorical retelling of biblical events. That is, the director reflects on the cause of the conflict that occurred before the beginning of time and tries to give him his explanation.

The heroes of Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer are Adam and Eve. “Adam” has a bleeding wound because a rib has been removed. “Eve” tasted the forbidden fruit, breaking the crystal. After that, all the problems began: the conflict between Cain and Abel (fight of sons), the great flood (a broken pipe) and much more.

Director of the film Mother! does not deny that one of his goals was to create a public outcry. He wanted to evoke emotions and reactions to his work, and he certainly succeeded.

The meaning of the ending

Despite the rather shocking denouement, the ending of the film Mother! can hardly be called positive.

Explanation of the ending: using its own resources, mother nature destroys herself and all people. There remains only God the Creator, who saves some part of his offspring. In the film, the poet takes the heart of his dead wife and turns it into a crystal similar to the one that Eve broke, and the house is restored again.

wife's heartFrame from the film.

History repeats itself: mother nature is reborn from the ashes, but now the viewer sees another young woman…

That is, the action inevitably goes in a circle – again and again. Despite the fact that God is a creator, without the love of the Mother, and without her heart, he cannot create: he uses her heart to create the Home again.

When watching a film, special attention should be paid to the guests, whose behavior can be superimposed on the history of mankind. At first they behave timidly, then brazenly enter the house, and then they loot.

At a certain moment, prophets appear who carry the word to the newcomers, then dissenters appear, fights (wars) arise. And then the Messiah is born. They take him for a deliverer, they sing, they want to touch him. They crucify… This is how religion is born (in this context, Christianity with its Eucharist).

In the end, everything burns in the fire of the apocalypse. But at the same time, there is still a backlog for the birth of a new life. This is the meaning of the ending of the film “Mother”.

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