Who will be blamed now that ‘mother!’ bombed so badly at the box office?

'Mother!' New York Premiere - Arrivals

I did not see ‘mother!’ this weekend. That film will not be getting my money. For one thing, I don’t like horror movies that much, especially not horror movies with heavy religious allegorical messages. I read several reviews of the film and I came away thinking, “Nope.” You can read some spoiler-heavy explainer pieces about the film here and here.

Since most major critics reviewed the film last week, the film has been sitting at the high 60s on Rotten Tomatoes, which is not the best but not the worst. The score to look at at RT is how many filmgoers enjoyed the film – only about 40%. I’ve read that some people left the theater horrified by all the sh-t that goes down, and other people burst out laughing at the last 30 minutes or so. Reviews, whether formal criticism or word-of-mouth anecdotal, are mixed. Very mixed. So it was surprising to see that ‘mother!’ got an F rating on CinemaScore, the worst score possible, and the kind of score usually reserved for, like, Lindsay Lohan movies. I don’t know if many people check CinemaScore though? I think most people check Rotten Tomatoes, but not CinemaScore? Oh, well, it didn’t even matter – ‘mother!’ bombed pretty hard at the box office in its opening weekend. IT was #1 yet again, and then this:

Darren Aronofsky’s mother! stalled in its domestic box-office debut, grossing an estimated $7.5 million from 2,368 theaters after receiving a rare F CinemaScore and facing competition from the blockbuster It.

mother!, an elevated psychological horror-thriller, supplanted The House at the End of the Street ($12.3 million) to mark the lowest nationwide launch of Jennifer Lawrence’s career. The Paramount title, which costed $30 million to produce, came in No. 3 over the weekend behind It and new offering American Assassin. (In a sign that summer is over, all three titles are rated R.)

[From THR]

Is this a case of a horror/religious-allegory film just not finding its audience? Or is it something else? Personally, I think no one really knew how to sell the film – if it had been billed as a small, art-house pseudo-religious horror story, I think maybe people would have been better prepared for it. Instead, the film was billed as a mass-market psychological horror starring America’s Sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence. It didn’t work.

Paramount’s president of marketing and distribution (ie, the woman who will be blamed for this bomb) Megan Colligan made a statement after the receipts came in, saying: “This movie is very audacious and brave. You are talking about a director at the top of his game, and an actress at the top her game. They made a movie that was intended to be bold. Everyone wants original filmmaking, and everyone celebrates Netflix when they tell a story no one else wants to tell. This is our version. We don’t want all movies to be safe. And it’s okay if some people don’t like it.” Again, THIS IS NOT NETFLIX. This was not billed as some quirky niche-market fare. ‘Mother!’ went through two of the biggest film festivals (Venice and TIFF) and a European press tour and an American press tour, with J-Law front and center. Millions were spent promoting this film as a mass-appeal horror. It didn’t work.



Photos courtesy of WENN, ‘mother!’.

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200 Responses to “Who will be blamed now that ‘mother!’ bombed so badly at the box office?”

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  1. lower case lois says:

    I won’t be seeing Mothet either, because I don’t like horror films. If I want to be scared I just get up in the morning and watch the news or read the newspaper. That frightened feeling lasts with me all day.

  2. M. says:

    I get what they were trying to do with this movie but I found it too disturbing to enjoy…the scene with the baby. Ugh

  3. Lotusgoat says:

    It’s at least partially the marketing. I unintentionally watched trailers multiple times (waiting for a YouTube video to start) and had no idea what the movie was about. It really just looked like Michelle Pfieffer mocking her about wanting kids and Lawrence gasping a lot? I read the synopsis on Wiki and it could have intrigued me if any of that was hinted in the previews

  4. Toniko says:

    Her second flop in a row. I thought people said she’s new megastar and everyone will pay to watch her reading the phonebook.

  5. Aiobhan Targaryen says:

    Honestly, the marketing team should get the most blame for misleading the audience into believing it was a straight horror film when it wasn’t. This film was a weird ham fisted allegory about Christianity written by an angry atheist. Which would normally be my thing but it was just so in your face and OTT about everything that I could not take it seriously at all. It all felt like a mistake. I am so glad that I did not pay to watch that film; I think I would have been pissed if I had.

  6. Feedmechips says:

    I can’t get past “The Paramount title, which costed $30 million…”

  7. Nicole says:

    I saw this at a screening and I laughed at some parts and was horrified by the terrible violence in others. It was torture porn mixed with crappy “high art” mixed with heavy handed allegorical references. Most people in my screening laughed at some of the heavy handed allegories and cringed at the abuse which really makes me question JLaw’s taste at this point.
    People got it. Darren is not that smart that people didn’t get it. It wasn’t well done. Next time he should get someone to edit his script down…and maybe a woman on staff to tell him this read like misogyny from start to finish.
    JLaw should take a break because she’s made three pretty terrible movies in the last two years.

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      as usual, you nailed it Nicole.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      She was also in Serena. I hated that movie. Overall, I don’t think she makes the best choices even if some of the films she’s been in were very enjoyable. She’s said in interviews that her approach sometimes was “I don’t care about the script, I love the director.” and obviously, she needs to pay more attention to the actual stories.

      I’m not watching this because the plot has been made a damn secret intentionally by the studio/Aronofsky. Sorry, but when I spend €10 (or more) and leave my sofa to see a movie, I need an idea of what I’m spending my time and money on. Netflix is NOT the same and it’s actually hard to tell which movies/shows make them money because the subscriber model is sometimes hard to interpret. At the box office, you know. My Netflix decisions are vastly different from my movie theater ones.

      Also, I don’t want to be told beforehand that this is a genius movie by a genius director and if I don’t like it I’m not a genius?

      • Nicole says:

        Oh geez yea I hated Serena. Thanks for reminding me. I also loathe her in XMen (minus first class)…cannot believe she signed on for another.
        Yea she needs to actually read scripts. She didn’t even have a script before signing on to this one which was a huge mistake

      • ArchieGoodwin says:

        she is terrible as Mystique! as few months ago, we did an X Men movie fest and re watched the originals, and Rebecca was excellent. We got to Jennifer and boring boring boring. She captured nothing of the mystique of the character.

        (pun intended)

        I haven’t found a movie I like her in. American Hustle was unwatchable, for us. We turned it off, and we usually can muster through a movie.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Thanks to Amazon Prime I didn’t pay for Serena (separately at least), I would’ve been pissed.

        I think Rebecca was great as Mystique and there was no need to re-cast but since the X-Men movies have bigger issues than JLaw, she doesn’t bother me in them. I do think she was actually great as Katniss.

        I thought she played bratty pretty well in American Hustle and SLP but it’s all the same with her. If you only see her in one film, you may think she’s really good but you get to 2,3,4 and you notice there isn’t much nuance between characters.

      • burnsie says:

        Serena the book was way better than Serena the movie. The book was a thriller with a twist Hitchcockian ending; the movie cut that out and turned it into an old timey romance movie

      • Prairiegirl says:

        “Also, I don’t want to be told beforehand that this is a genius movie by a genius director and if I don’t like it I’m not a genius?”

        That was the line in the sand for me. Nothing in the world can get me in the theatre now. I’ll gladly withhold my money just to spite these ‘geniuses’!

      • Ayra. says:

        Yeah, she’s a horrible Mystique, it’s almost as though she doesn’t even try to put any effort into the character.

      • Sarah says:

        Right???? Maybe people just don’t like JLaw anymore?? I know I won’t pay to see her in anything. Her purposeful piggy persona is just too gross for me.

    • TeresaMaria says:

      This film just wasn’t well done. You can push the boundaries, but this time it didn’t work, because so many aspects of it were totally off

    • SJ says:

      I feel like we’re the same person @Nicole lol.
      I saw it last weekend in a fairly packed theatre and saw the same reactions, plus 1 walkout ( after u know what).

      I think it never occurred to DA how he was using misogyny to prove his Biblical/environmental point. He was too wrapped up in the “Jlaw as Mother Earth” idea that he ignored the possibility people would intrepret it as “Jlaw as a young wife “. If he had critiqued it by the end, or at least not dismiss the misogyny in interviews, it would’ve been a less frustrating movie.

      • Annabelle Bronstein says:

        Oh, I disagree that he overlooked “J Law as young wife.” I think this movie is him (consciously or subconsciously) admitting how difficult men like himself are in relationships.

      • SJ says:

        @AnnabelleBronstein (that’s a SATC reference right? Love it)
        Personally, I didn’t get that vibe with the film, especially with how the ending turned out with Javier. But what really grinds my gears is how dismissive DA is about the patriarchy interpretation in interviews. He’s probably trying to deflect any comparison of Javier’s character to himself as a boyfriend, but still. At least acknowledge how heavy-handed the use of misogyny and large age gaps in relationships was.

      • Cassie 231 says:

        Isn’t ‘J-Law is a young wife’ the whole point? Bardem is a misogynist: in fact, the whole film is an attack on misogyny. Accusing Aronofsky of being a misogynist for showing misogyny on ts screen is like accusing Spielberg of being a Nazi because he shows Nazis on the screen in Schindler’s List.

      • SJ says:

        @Cassie. Not exactly. Aronofsky maintains that Javier is God and Jennifer is Mother Earth, not just a man and woman in a troubled marriage. But it’s easy to interpret otherwise, which is why I wished that he followed through with the results/a critique of the repercussions of treating women badly, not just treating Mother Earth badly.

    • Monica says:

      The final scenes with Jennifer disturbed me so much. It was very hard to watch, because women do go through things like that. Not to mention the indecent exposure of her breasts in that scene, disgusting misogyny.

  8. Parigo says:

    Well, I guess that means no oscar nom for JLaw this year.

  9. Ally says:

    My theory: Jennifer Lawrence came to prominence playing highly competent tough young women. That’s how the audience wants to see her. They do not want to see her psychologically tortured, despite how keen Hollywood producer and director dudes are to portray her this way.

    Seriously, enough of this torture crap. Tell stories that elevate the culture, not just ones that revel in its muck under the guise of critiquing it.

    • kibbles says:

      My thoughts are that JLaw cannot bring in huge audiences unless she is in franchises such as X-Men and The Hunger Games in which people will want to watch regardless of who plays the main character. Conservatives will blame JLaw’s box office failures on her political statements, but at the end of the day, audiences both conservative and liberal will shell out cash to see films that have broad appeal. mother! did not have that sort of appeal, and frankly, JLaw has reached her peak and was hyped up too quickly by the Hollywood establishment as the greatest actress of our time when she really isn’t.

      I’ve read reviews from people who saw the film that Michelle Pfeiffer is the best thing about mother!, and that JLaw’s acting is mediocre at best with some people even saying that her acting was horrible. JLaw first came onto the scene with a lot of promise at a young age, but I haven’t seen much growth in her performances. She has stalled because she’s reached the pinnacle, and at this point, it is probably very difficult for JLaw to stop believing in her own hype and try to hone her acting skills. In addition, she’s been miscast in many roles that should have been given to older actresses with more range. At least Meryl Streep entered the industry after going to Yale School of Drama. JLaw is not an actress with formal training or lots of experience in theater before she got her big break. This is a set-up that could have only ended with expectations of her skills and abilities as a young actress falling short.

      I am a movie buff who goes to the theater and watches movies from my laptop when I can find them on Amazon or on streaming sites. I could not bring myself to watch many of JLaw’s recent films even when I can see them online at no cost. Many of us already knew that JLaw was overrated, so this was bound to happen. Given that JLaw may have already messed with her face and she isn’t even 30 yet, she really needs to act more mature, make an effort to improve her acting technique, and pick roles more suitable for her age and range. I personally do not see her with the kind of talent to have a long lasting career in the same way Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman have created for themselves.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Absolutely. I find that there are generally three types of actors. The Streeps (or Day-Lewises), the De Niros, the DiCaprios. Meryl Streep disappears into her roles. De Niro does not but he’s good and so watchable that I’ll pay money just to see him on screen. DiCaprio is pretty one-note or at least picks films that make him appear to be. He’s very good but not as versatile as Streep and not as charismatic as DeNiro (to me) but his choices have been excellent for his career. I think Jennifer Lawrence is a DiCaprio and it’s becoming more and more apparent that maybe she lacks the charisma to get people to the theater based on just her name alone. That’s a problem if she keeps picking movies nobody wants to see. Honestly, I’m not sure she has the best taste or is all that educated? You may not need that to act but understanding storytelling etc. would probably benefit her.

        Also, Michelle Pfeiffer has always been severely underrated imo.

      • JulP says:

        I agree with all of this. I think one of the biggest issues with her career is that directors are casting her because she’s the biggest actress in the world, with little regard to whether she is suited for the roles she’s playing. I’ve seen nearly all of her films, and IMO she was miscast in SLP, Joy, Serena, American Hustle, X-Men, mother! (this is based on just watching the previews, she looks really out of place. I admit I haven’t seen it yet), and she looks reaaaally miscast in the upcoming Red Sparrow film, again based on the trailer (she lacks the grace and poise to play a former ballerina, and I cannot see her playing someone mysterious and seductive. She’s no Angelina or Charlize, that’s for sure). It’s not that she’s a bad actress (although I do think she’s terribly overrated), she just hasn’t picked projects that highlight her skill set. And, as you noted, it does not appear that she has ever tried to improve. She has definitely plateaued, and it will be interesting to see what happens to her career if her next film flops as well.

        Relatedly, someone on another site said she acts as if she’s in a play, while everyone else is acting as if they’re in a movie. Which is precisely how I feel about her acting.

      • i don't know her says:

        damn. i mean…..you nailed it.

      • Parigo says:

        What everyone said above especially the JLaw is a Dicaprio comment. They are both overrated and get great roles because of their status, not skills.

      • ArchieGoodwin says:

        Naughty, what a great post. I agree with everything you said.

      • Jane2222 says:

        All of the reviews I’ve read have highly praised Lawrence’s acting, even those that disliked the film. She’s not the problem here – and I think it’s a little sexist that people are suggesting otherwise.

      • slowsnow says:

        I agree. But she has The Face and I think that’s what people confuse with good acting. Have you noticed that there is a horribly invasive trend in filming where you just see the actor’s face? Hunger Games is-always-her-face, I noticed that in Gypsy, too, in the most different films, it’s the same in this trailer… She emotes without much sense or depth, but it looks good on camera. And when people have a nice face to look at, people enjoy it. But it’s actually bad acting and there is no interacting with actors. So very hard to develop as a professional when the chosen films are these face-emoting-porn types.

      • Cassie 231 says:

        Sime of these comments about J-Law’s acting make me laugh. It’s obvious if you know anything about acting that she’s very good. Matbe not Meryl Streep, but better than 90% of the others out there. In particular, the idea that she doesn’t link up well with other actors (all Face, acting ‘as if she’s in a play’) strikes me as really odd. Did you not see her in Silver Linings??

      • slowsnow says:

        @Cassie, glad I make you laugh! But seriously, I didn’t watch Silver Linings. Watched a bit of Winter Bones. I had to watch Hunger Games with my kids, with her open-mouthed-acting, strong willed woman type of character. She is convincing but so are most of the actors you see in endless series, movies that do not get half the praise she gets because The Face & ambition (she clearly wants to have a good career and more power to her). She makes me think of the contestants of singing shows such as The Voice that confuse singing with shouting in a beautiful manner.
        That said, I do believe that acting improves with age and experience. She has a lot of time and projects ahead of her and with her commitment I wouldn’t be surprised if she turned out to be great.

      • JulP says:

        @Cassie, the “play” comment doesn’t mean she doesn’t interact with other actors. It means she lacks subtlety; she acts as if she’s emoting for the person who’s sitting all the way at the back of the theater (i.e., she overacts). And I have seen SLP. I thought she was hammy and the performance lacked depth and nuance. Probably not entirely her fault, as she was way too young for that role. I still can’t believe she won the Oscar over Emmanuelle Riva …

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Cassie, her acting is good but it’s not versatile at all. Her characters in SLP, American Hustle and Serena are practically the same. I would love to see her try comedy. It’s hard. And she would be forced to change her style. You can see her acting and that’s okay if you are De Niro but she isn’t.

    • Sarah says:

      Maybe American audiences just don’t like her. Could be as simple as that.

  10. Eden75 says:

    It may be a genius film, I have no idea, but I saw one preview for it, had no idea what it was about so it didn’t peak my interest. That doesn’t seem like the best way to get the attention of a lot of the population, some vague, look who’s in our movie, 20 second commercial. As I never check RT or listen to critics, I might have gone if I knew anything about it. The ad was a quick flash of who was in it and that’s about it. I honestly forgot about it until this article. I know there have been posts about JLaw but I usually don’t bother with them, the title of this just caught me.
    Once you say Jennifer Lawrence, I’m almost always out. I’m going to go against the main and say that I don’t think she’s a great actress. She’s the same every single time I see her and there is something about her that annoys the hell out of me on-screen.

    • M. says:

      I didn’t think it was a genius film. I see people say that anybody critizing it, just didn’t get it. It was easy to get, the bible stuff and Mother Nature. Jennifer Lawrence’s acting was very mediocre. The whole ending with the violence and the baby being killed and eaten…it was just too much.

    • M. says:

      @scotchy. Honestly, I think people should know going in what kind of messed up stuff they see at the end. I’m pregnant right now and every night I have very vivid dreams, I really wish I had known that the ending included a dead baby. I’ve had two nightmares two nights in a row and it leaves me terrified. My first pregnancy I made the mistake of watching the walking dead, when Lori has her baby…I had nightmares forever about it. The dreams I have are so vivid and even when I know I’m dreaming I have trouble waking up from them.

      • Scotchy says:

        I totally totally understand and would want to know this as well. I just think it’s funny that here we all don’t care about spoilers and also dislike this film which by all accounts sounds like a pretentious piece of garbage, wrapped up in more garbage.

        I am so sorry you got triggered. I am sending you all the internet hugs and am wishing you ease in the rest of your pregnancy and that these dreams subside quickly!!!!!! <3

    • Monica says:

      well this was her best performance. i forgot it was j.law tbh

  11. Parks and Rec says:

    I agree that Jennifer Lawrence is too big of an actress for this… Or maybe people have been seeing to much of her…

    This is a great movie to feature on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I would watch that flick only with voice-overs of Tom Servo and Crow making snarky comments

  12. detritus says:

    I’ve already heard it called an art film that the masses won’t understand or enjoy. Challenging, uncomfortable.
    Basically, it will be blamed on the plebian tastes of the masses. This film will be presented as too genius to succeed. Deflection at its best.

  13. Louise177 says:

    I haven’t seen the film but I didn’t get the impression that people didn’t like it for the religious themes. People just thought it was bad, confusing, and bizarre.

  14. Giulia says:

    Going to the movies is too damn expensive. I used to go a lot more and willing to see the experimental or at least not-mainstream. But now I resent paying a hefty chunk for tickets and refreshments for something half-assed. The industry can keep its reserved, Barca-lounge seating and give me movies worthy of intelligent audiences.

  15. Miles says:

    Paramount really thought giving Jlaw $15 million for this movie was a good idea.

  16. QueenB says:

    This is one of the side effects of Hollywood shunning good and intelligent film making: Mediocore filmmakers making crap movies and thinking “the masses dont understand them”. If there were more original and challenging movies it would be more apparant that this movie just sucks.

  17. SM says:

    Well it was Aronofsky’s vision, his idea and his execution. He is the one to be blamed if it did not work. I am not seeing it only because I kind of think that Darren and Jennifer is a one sick, twisted relationship and watching this movie where she is abused and also is idiolized as some Mother nature is like endulging and enabling some abusive relationship. I wonder though if lack of success this movie gets changes their relationship?

  18. Kate says:

    Personally I loved it, but whatever anyone thinks of the story, the acting by everyone was brilliant, from JLaw to Harris to Wiig. Also the reaction has pretty much already made this a cult classic.

    Anyway, no one’s going to be ‘blamed’. It is a very niche, arty, polarising film (not sure why you think it doing the festival circuit is a sign otherwise). Not at all surprising coming from Aronofsky. The studio took a shot marketing it as a mass appeal horror, but it was always unlikely that was going to take. For what it is, it did pretty well really. Without JLaw and the wide release that goes with her this would be the kind of film that pulls in half a million dollars on opening weekend if it’s lucky.

    It’s getting bad audience reviews because many people did buy the false marketing and they really weren’t the audience for the film. You can see it with some of the other films that have got F cinema scores. Solaris and Killing Them Softly for example. A chunk of the audience thought they were going to see a standard ‘Clooney’ film or a ‘Pitt’ film, and ended up in weird, slow, arty films. That bait and switch never bodes well for audience scores.

  19. Talie says:

    It may still get awards attention….as for Lawrence, I don’t think she is cut out to be the auteur’s muse a la Rooney Mara. She is at her best in big commercial projects or indie projects that have a certain grit like Winter’s Bone.

  20. Who ARE these people? says:

    Daughter in college saw it and didn’t like it…they were attracted by it starring J Law and misdirected by the marketing. She looked up the allegory afterward to try to make sense of it but truly, it just sounded gross.

  21. Natalie S says:

    “You are talking about a director at the top of his hubris, and an actress at the top of her hubris. They made a movie that was intended to be about how special they think they are. Everyone wants original filmmaking, and everyone celebrates Netflix when they tell a story no one else wants to tell. We told a story no one wants to tell or watch!”

    Remember when the Beatles had an album cover where they posed in butcher’s coats with cleavers and pieces of baby dolls? Or when they made the movie Magical Mystery Tour? That’s the headspace where JLaw and Aronofsky are aspiring to be right now.

    Except the Beatles were major talents. Though, let’s be real, if either JLaw or Aronofsky ever had this comparison made to them, all they would hear is, “We’re as awesome as the Beatles!” when my point actually is -if the Beatles can’t pull this off, Aronofsky should smack himself for even thinking he could.

  22. kibbles says:

    I’m guessing this won’t be a good week for Jennifer Lawrence at the home of Darren Aronofsky. If he really is as abusive as I’ve read about him, imagine how cranky he will be towards her for the rest of this month. I believed their relationship was doomed from the start, and now the failure of mother! cements my feelings even more.

  23. Bishg says:

    Just yesterday I decided to rewatch Black Swan, which I had only seen once when it came out. I remember feeling fascinated by the story but terribly disappointed once I undedstood that it wasn’t going anywhere. But now, at my second viewing, I was left unimpressed. What a pretentious director Afronsoky is. The movie tackled with OCD, paranoia and the pressure of succeeding, without deepening any of these themes, they were just thrown out there. Natalie Portman’s performance was also very annoying and phoned-in, her undeserved Oscar truly is a product of a smart marketing campaign. My point is, I feel like mother! would be a similar experience and I won’t spend any money on it.

    • Eden75 says:

      Thank you, I am glad I am not alone on that movie.. I saw Black Swan once and that was more than enough for me. Ridiculously awful movie.

    • L says:

      Finally someone says it. I also found the movie pretentious, awful really and Portman’s performance not realistic, exaggerated at times and obviously with tremendous help from lighting and costume. She campaigned for that Oscar, remember the engagement ring and the pregnancy revealed tactfully at very precise times before the Oscars – which usually bring about lot of sympathy from voters.

  24. Honey says:

    There really doesn’t seem to be very many recent movies that are even worth watching. Like songs, they must be running out of topics, ideas, and words to write or sing about

  25. Veronica says:

    IMO, this kind of film isn’t one that wasn’t ever going to do well in wide release. It’s controversial, and it’s…”artsy.” And given the sentiment right now in the country, that kind of intellectual navel gazing isn’t really going to grab audiences.

  26. Crystal says:

    Yeah, there is already plenty of decent torture horror out there, don’t need to watch their abusive relationship pushed in my face as “art”. I knew this was going to flop when I saw horror review sites hating it.

    For people looking for a movie that manages brutality with social commentary, try Seasoning House (warning: very graphic). Or if in need of a newer revenge based horror, Revenge is getting good reviews on horror sites. I impress highly to read their plot summaries first.

  27. Katherine says:

    I just read the outline on wikipedia – actually liked it but no way I’m watching a movie with that plot, I’d read a short story or a novel with that plot but definitely not watch it

  28. magnoliarose says:

    I went to see this piece of tripe and had to stop myself from loudly heckling this pretentious grating pseudo-intellectual arrogant “head up its own ass” movie. Nothing is worse than someone who creates something they smugly believe is above everyone else’s head. It was like an ambitious film school project with a generous budget.

    Hopefully, DA and JL are screaming at each other and stewing in the depths of misery since the little sadists are out to torture people who sit through this fakakta dreck.

    • S says:

      “Nothing is worse than someone who creates something they smugly believe is above everyone else’s head. It was like an ambitious film school project with a generous budget.”

      This. 1,000 times, this.

      It’s fine to like stuff that other people hate. I mean, duh, that’s actually a good thing for society, and art in general. But, if your response to people not liking what YOU create is that they’re just too stupid to “get it,” because you’re soooo much smarter than (shudder) the norms … Then, yeah, all the eye-rolls, sir. All of ‘em.

      And my impression of what I’ve seen of Aronofsky’s work and how he talks about it, is that he’s an insufferable, pretentious, narcissist. So, yeah, I’m good.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I am like you. People like what they like, and it makes life interesting.

        Pretension is something I loathe in the world of entertainment and art. Some people use it as a way to make other people feel inferior and ignorant and pump up their sense of themselves.
        I love art museums, and I like to artistic expression in general, but people like Darren ruin it with nauseating pretension. The same posers who think once it is loved by many it lessens its aesthetic value.
        The movie is predictable and not that challenging. It made me realize I have never liked any of his films. They are full of misogyny and contempt for his female characters.
        He’s the nerdy guy who could never get the beautiful girl so now he is going to torture the hell out of her on screen. He is in good company with loads of other “geniuses” in the film industry.

      • ParlerBleu says:

        “He’s the nerdy guy who could never get the beautiful girl so now he is going to torture the hell out of her on screen. He is in good company with loads of other “geniuses” in the film industry.”

        THIS. Made the mistake of seeing this movie. The entire movie is misogynistic torture porn. Overtly misogynistic. Some of the most horrific acts of violence in the film are clearly gender-based, yet when asked about it in interviews, DA said misogyny/patriarchy didn’t play into his writing of the script nor was it what he intended to critique.

        How much of a misogynist do you have to be to write and direct a movie where your main character is a woman with no agency and no discernable desires or motivations other than being a good trophy-wife, and abuse her horribly for two hours and then say misogyny never crossed your mind when making the film?

  29. Joan says:

    I know they’re a couple but it seems odd to see Lawrence fawning over Aronofsky and agreeing to his ever word. Even Portman was critical of Aronofsky’s interpretation of Black Swan. I remember she had the ending of Black Swan changed so that Nina had the last word and gave her character agency. I think Aronofsky wanted the movie to end with the director calling Nina “my princess”.

  30. third ginger says:

    For me,the more interesting ongoing discussion will be about how much continuing influence Aronofsky will have on Lawrence’s career.

  31. Adrien says:

    I can’t criticize something I haven’t seen. Why is JLaw with Steven Seagal in the lead pic?

  32. WendyNerd says:

    Aronofsky will get enough money thrown at him to make a half dozen more “Brilliant” flops while there will be a score of think-pieces about how America has become disenchanted with Jennifer Lawrence.

  33. cecila c says:

    I saw this, and I thought it was superb – as many of the top critics agreed. In ten years time, this will be remembered as a very good film that was marketed badly.

    Also, Lawrence is tremendously good in it – as almost all critics have agreed, no matter what they taught of the film. I really disagree with those of you who think she’s limited – on the contrary, she’s got a great range.

  34. godwina says:

    Likely a few reasons mentioned, and also the fact that too many people still wanted to see IT this weekend, and since folks typically only see one movie in the cinema per weekend, most horror-movie fans were watching a clown torturing kids instead of baby-eaters torturing JLaw.

  35. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Yup. Been saying this overrated actor is only sometimes mediocre and has been the wrong choice over and over (much to the chagrine of anyone hearing my assessments lol). I love movies and today’s television and amid an anormous amount talent out there, JLaw just isn’t swimming those pools. Plus Hollywood’s incessant pushing her on the masses has kinda backlashed. These aren’t the “golden oldies” when they could do that without question and people would simply fall in line and eat what’s served (praise Jesus). I don’t like her, I’ve never liked her… she seems more suited to silly rom-coms as an Aniston or Heigl replacement.

  36. jugil1 says:

    I saw this movie & didn’t hate it. I thought JLaw was good, but Javier was great. Also, Michelle Pfeiffer was great too! I did think the last 30 minutes went too far with the abuse hurled at JLaw’s character. I get the “point” of what they were trying to convey but the name calling & the physical beating made me very uncomfortable. I can’t even comment on the baby scene because it was so repulsive to me. All that being said, my take away from the movie was another narcissistic man draining a woman of all her resources & using it for his own gain & ego boost. Unfortunately, nothing new as we see this in the news daily.

  37. hu says:

    My personal opinion: Agree that the film marketing is to blame. Many people expect to see a horror film, but in reality was an artsy-horror-hipster-awful film, is pretentious AF. But also blame JLaw, I like her, but her promotion was horrible. Girl, if you promoting a artsy-horror-hipster-awful film, act like it, you´re not selling the Hunger Games, it´s for a grown-up audience, your stories with drunken fights and how you love the kardashians, that not going to work with the Arofonosky public. That or, as always Lawrence was terrible miscast. If Michelle Pfeiffer was the titular……
    Just look the horrible wikipedia plot: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother!

  38. Margo S. says:

    I read the Wikipedia article on the plot. It has the entire premise of the film. Oh MY word. What a ridiculous sounding mess. You all just need to read it and you’ll find out why people walked out.

    Also, Jennifer Lawrence has started to piss people off. I find her embarrassingly desperate. The whole “look at how crazy and quirky I am” shtick isn’t cute anymore.

  39. NoKiddingCats says:

    Nice spin by Megan Colligan. I think the film failed because it was poorly marketed. And it’s just not a good film. I did enjoy The Lobster though. Jennifer needs to be more selective in the roles she chooses…

  40. smee says:

    Javier B’s profile kills me. So fine.

  41. Brandy says:

    First, it was incorrectly marketed, from start to finish. It was branded as a horror movie, and it’s anything but.
    Second, it is not a terrible film – not at all. It’s actually pretty incredible, if one steps back from the hype, the terrible trailers and the “Rosemary’s Baby” poster that completely misled audiences. It’s unlike anything you’re likely to have seen or will see. It’s not a horror film. It’s a drama that requires its audience to suspend disbelief – like any other film – and take the ride with the characters. It’s shocking. It’s incredibly sad. It’s evocative. It’s deeply disturbing and in the end, it’s a wonderful companion piece to “The Fountain.”
    Aronofsky said himself at a screening, prior to the film starting (paraphrased) “Boy are you all going to be unhappy after this.”
    To dismiss it as “Torture Porn” is so trite. It’s less violent than most television shows. Are perhaps 75 seconds of the entire film difficult to watch? Absolutely. I’ll give you two minutes. Does that make it “Torture Porn?” Come on, now, let’s not be hypocrites.
    It seems that Americans really enjoy their entertainment as bland as white rice. Don’t be evocative. Don’t be original. Don’t be the director of “Requiem for a Dream.” Don’t have an unsettling viewpoint or work in allegory or create a controversial film.

    • jugil1 says:

      @ Brandy, I commented above on the movie, but I agree with your synopsis. Now, I found the last 20-30 minutes very uncomfortable, but I didn’t hate the movie either.

      I totally agree the “Rosemary’s Baby” poster was SO misleading. Also, it wasn’t a “horror thriller” as it was marketed either.

      I can’t say I really liked it but it was thought provoking.

    • Scotchy says:

      @ Brandy I am glad you liked it.
      I did not like it, I thought it was pretentious, unnecessarily violent and to be honest uninventive. But that is just me.
      I think it’s fine to like a film but to assert that Americans like their entertainment bland as white rice is a generalization that is unnecessary.
      You are free to like what you like.
      I will go one step further and say that in terms of all forms of entertainment ( music, film, tv, art) the world on a whole is not interested in things being above average. So it’s a global problem.

      This film struck me as a very privileged narcissistic white male’s attempt at making a statement about his rage over the destruction of the planet.

      You know what would have been inventive, is rather than falling back on biblical tropes to express his climate change concerns, with his primarily white cast, what if he actually made the film culturally diverse, and showed humanities dynamics at play within that setting.
      What if he set it in a refugee camp, what if he just made a movie not steeped in his privilege and one that was truly innovative and forward thinking?
      Wonder what that film would have looked like.

      This one was just lame.

      That however is my opinion and I as an ethnic woman I am anything but bland.

    • magnoliarose says:

      @Brandy I don’t think you can generalize Americans or what individuals find entertaining. It is purely subjective.

      Your post makes it sound like you believe we just didn’t get it and are unable to appreciate fine cinema and the genius that is Aronofsky. What makes you think you are so much more cultured and sophisticated than any person on this thread? You remind me of the kind of individuals who try to convince other people they actually like experimental jazz but only if it is played in a smokey dive bar in the unhip dingy part of Brooklyn. The type that pontificate on films but will only like them when it has been positively reviewed by the right critics.

      Darren Aronofsky is hardly subversive or groundbreaking. His films have the depth of a raindrop.

      Let’s discuss the short films of Hans Richter and Jean Cocteau and follow it up with Goddard and Dziga Vertov. Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda films were groundbreaking and provocative largely overlooked but worthy of discussion. John Cassavetes or Gordon Parks or Susan Seidelman or Julie Dash.
      I could come here and behave smug and hipster tragic, but I don’t have anything to prove, and this bland American knows how obnoxious it is.

    • Ange says:

      You can’t have it both ways, claiming Americans only love bland movies while lauding movies made by an American and starring mostly Americans. I’m not even American but lord, tuck that superiority complex back in.

    • Monica says:

      lmfao rme. this was a poor imitation of Lars Von Trier, it was anything but brilliant. Yes, I also took intro to religious studies too Darren

  42. Ann says:

    Well, Black Swan was an unintentionally campy B-movie which I didn’t like so passing on this one.

  43. Bliss 51 says:

    I’m a lapsed Catholic, Hispanic Catholic. I grew up w/ all that religious suffering that my family, especially aunties and grandmas thrived on. Porque would I want to spend money watching the suffering? I can read the news and see the horror anytime. Many years ago my town had a horrific infant abuse case and I don’t want to watch a movie w/ a baby’s neck being broken and being eaten. & yes, I understand it’s the body of Christ, and an allegory. Look, if you want to watch cinematic road to Calvary pain, let me recommend Bitutiful (that’s the correct spelling, not a typo) with Javier Bardem. Painful, beautiful, haunting, a fine movie.

  44. isabelle says:

    Not seen it yet but Cinemascore is pretty laughable IMO in their scores. They often give horrible movies, like Michael Bay films, high ratings. Truly good films mediocre ratings. As example they gave Dark Tower a higher rating, its truly an awful awful film. Gave IT , a x10 better film a slightly better rating. Never trust their grades.

    • S says:

      Cinemascore isn’t a professional reviewing site, it composites randomized audiences letter grades (A+-F) from across the country. Basically, it’s the “what real people think” score, and therefore very useful when it comes to box office predictions, particularly second week/night drop off (i.e. the tell-a-friend).

      Will I, personally, enjoy, Transformers 46: Oh My God, There’s Another One?, no. But a B+ Cinemascore, like, god help us all, the last one got, is a much better reflection of box office and expectations, rather than film quality. Cinemascore also reflects that most people tend to enjoy the movies they go and see — a.k.a. they got what they expected out of the experience and left the theater satisfied — so most scores are relatively high. Because people who hate the movie, or have no interest … They’re not in that score. It’s just folks who saw the previews then lined up on opening night to see the show. Even a “C” score is considered pretty disastrous, an “F” almost unheard of.

      • isabelle says:

        “Real people”, like cr*p movies, which I guess explains Cinemascore. Not sure if I would like Mother or not but I don’t trusts “real Peoples” views on monies. If so superhero movies, bad horror films like Ouija, and sequels would be sweeping the Oscars every year.

  45. cecila c says:

    I’m laughing at all the J-Law bashers coming out of the woodwork to have a go at her for this. Within the industry, she’s going to get big kudoes for taking on this risky project: no Hollywood star of a similar calibre has ever had the guts to do a film like this at a similar stage of their careers, and no one is going to accuse her of just doing bland Oscar bait again. Plenty of Hollywood types have been raving on Twitter about how much they loved the film, including Edgar Wright and Rian Johnston, and ultimately they are the people who make the quality films Lawrence obviously wants to be in. Sure, her box office status will take a hit – but I’m not sure she cares much about that.

    • Kate says:

      Right? So many influential, interesting directors are praising this film to the skies, and JLaw specifically. I wouldn’t be surprised if she does get that Oscar nom, but more importantly this is going to keep her at the top of every director’s wish list. This was a great career move for her.

    • Shirurusu says:

      I like Jennifer but seriously you think working with critically acclaimed so called genius director AroSnofski was such a bold move? It’s the obvious move for almost anyone he would have asked, most people would not have turned it down because of Black Swan and all the hype surrounding him. They also had a huge budget for an “art” film and all the support from their studio behind them (they’re still defending it). If you think this is taking a chance in Hollywood and that they are somehow the bravest couple of filmmakers ever to exist you don’t know much about film history lol. I haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to but I respect that some people liked it. Doesn’t really make it bold film making though, that’s just hype.

    • Monica says:

      LOL @ JLaw stans thinking she’s the first to ever do such a risque auteur’s project, Nicole Kidman’s resume says hi

  46. SF says:

    Horror films in the age of Trump are unnecessary.

    What film can meet the standard of our current shared reality?

  47. tracking says:

    I would be interested in seeing this (I’ve enjoyed much, if not all, of DA’s previous work) but I encountered a spoiler about the baby scene and I.just.can’t.

    • jwoolman says:

      They really need to embed signals in such movies so you can use a headset that will beep when you should close your eyes (maybe another alert when you should also plug your ears….), another beep when you can open them again, depending on what level of grossness tolerance you have selected. Would make it so much easier.

      I even skim over really gross parts in books….

  48. Bliss 51 says:

    I didn’t have my coffee this morning! The Javier Bardem movie I recommended is Biutiful, not the stupid spelling I gave in my post. Coffee, coffee, coffee!

  49. Cami says:

    First off mother! Is not a horror movie. it got f cinemascore from the audience members cuz fifty two percent came because they thought it was a horror movie. Her beloved fans at 42 percent gave it an f because they didn’t like that she was submissive. They are used to her playing strong roles. Jennifer and Michelle getting raves for their performances. The industry is supporting this movie critics ,actors and other directors. The mc score for top critics has this at 74 percent on rotten tomatoes. People already stating that this will become cult classic

  50. Cassie 231 says:

    Having read this whole thread, and seen the film last night, it’ll be funny when it is established as a minor classic in five years time…If you like challenging, visceral cinema, see this: and don’t let the basics put you off.

  51. Marie says:

    Aronofsky’s a hack. All his movies are terrible

  52. Isa says:

    I’ve seen two social media posts about how terrible it is, so I looked up the plot. I’ll be skipping it.

  53. holly hobby says:

    Reading the baby part was enough to make me NOT watch this film. Darren Aronofsky is a self involved jerk.

  54. Southern Charm says:

    I won’t be seeing it. I don’t like horror movies but this just doesn’t sound very interesting. It COULD have been interesting if Aronofsky had maybe toned down the violence and focused on the psychological and allegorical aspects but it seems like he went for the gore, from what I’ve read? No one wants to see babies being killed and people burned alive. It’s just too much. I’m ALL for telling a story and making films about uncomfortable topics and I agree with the statement Paramount issued about not being afraid to do that and not play it safe but this just sounds… upsetting and frightening for 80% of people, especially on a big screen.

    • M. says:

      I’m a big horror fan…this movie I wouldn’t consider horror…I don’t know what category to put it in really. The trailer made everything seem so vague and kind of interesting, I wish I had waited until I read this thread today though. The scene with the baby was too much, I’m currently pregnant and having very vivid nightmares, I haven’t slept properly since seeing this movie. Can’t get the imagery out of my head…if I had known that the movie was going to be so violent at the end I wouldn’t of watched it.

  55. Marianne says:

    I actually really liked Mother! But I do think part of the problem is that is wasn’t marketed properly. So I wouldnt be surprised if people gave it such bad reviews because they simply were expecting something else. Some people as well just might have been too disturbed by some of the scenes.

    Personally, I thought it was very interesting and thought provoking. That third act is quite batsh** crazy, but I think its supposed to make you feel disgusted/horrified at what you’re watching. Because we should feel that way about current state in our world. Some of the allegorical references might be obvious, but I also think the end has different interpretations. Plus, visually I think it was awesome. And because of the reaction, I doubt it will get noms this awards season, but I would love to at least some noms come up for visual effects, production design etc.

    its not going to be for everyone. And thats ok. But I know I’d rather see something ( good or bad) that at least is so vicseral that it opens up discussions, rather than some forgettable action flick that studios like to churn out these days.

  56. Bliss 51 says:

    I haven’t seen mother! but from the sound of it, and all that I read of the movie, I would guess if you enjoyed such movies as Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, The Piano Teacher, Funny Games, mmm, you’ll probably love this movie! Love!

  57. NoKiddingCats says:

    O Kaaay… One thing I’ll say, this movie is getting ALL kinds of interpretations. I just watched this glowing review, And I had to hop on here and share it. I didn’t see the movie so I don’t know what to think. It’s ***From a Conservative*** and it is short, around 2 minutes. Can anyone who has seen the film watch this review and share your thoughts, please?


  58. Tallia says:

    The script was cr@p. Pretentious, idiotic cr@p. JLaw, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer did what they could with the load they were given. I couldn’t even look at Bardem because of what he was spewing (and I like looking at Bardem). While watching the movie all I could think of was the Jamie Denbo comments about not being able to be cast as the wife of a 50+ year old man, at the age of 38. Bardem and JLaw were a little gross together, visually. IMHO

  59. raincoaster says:

    I LOOOOOOOVE horror films: I literally watch a horror movie every single night thanks to YouTube uploading all the oldies. But I don’t think I’ll go to see this despite loving both leads. Allegory doesn’t have a huge market (outside of Narnia, that is) and religious allegory needs to be very specific. I doubt the director is Catholic, and I heard the religious references were all over the place, from conflicting religious traditions, which means it was a shitty, inconsistent allegory.

    Given what I can make of the plot, this MIGHT be a companion piece to Begotten, which has been called unwatchable and brilliant. My favourite review of Begotten said it “Makes Eraserhead look like Ernest Saves Christmas.” In it, God gives birth to humanity by cutting his belly open with a straight razor. It takes FOREVER, and while the movie is technically silent, ie no dialogue, you can hear the squidge-squidge sounds of the razor going in and out while God sits there silently laughing or having hysterics.

    So, maybe I’ll get really drunk and watch them back to back and then shut myself in the house for a week with the curtains pulled. It sounds fun. Gosh, wonder why it hasn’t made any money…

  60. ValiantlyVarnished says:

    From what I’ve read Lawrence is horrible miscast (which is kind of obvious), the characters are not fully developed and neither are the themes. Add in that horrific scene with the baby and I think people are giving it a hard pass. Lawrence said she signed on without a script. I wonder if she regretted after it was finally in her hands. I loved Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan but I feel like Aronofsky has such clout that his crap ideas get a green light even when everyone knows their crap.

  61. Elian says:

    This isn’t art. It isn’t bold or avant garde. We live in a truly sickening, morally bankrupt time. How could DA have gotten this film green lit in the first place? Why did anyone involved agree to be a part of it? I cannot fathom where we are going as a culture and society.

  62. jwoolman says:

    I haven’t seen it, but from what I’ve heard it sounds like the type of film that will get its audience slowly over time. It doesn’t sound action-oriented enough for the younger crowd. I would watch how it does in DVD sales and rentals and views on places like Netflix as it leaves theaters and goes into places where there are simply more potential viewers who can watch it under more comfortable circumstances, like reading a book.

    I don’t know why anybody pays much attention to box office numbers anymore. They aren’t the indicators that they used to be, and there is plenty of time for a film to make a profit long after a theater run.

  63. rereduce says:

    The movie is genius. Most folks don’t want to go because even though they know climate change is going to destroy the planet and all life, they don’t want to face giving up driving alone in their SUV or flying cross country to little Jimmy’s first communion for the weekend. Americans emit 20x the world average of emissions – and are addicted to this and can’t (more like won’t) give up their lifestyles based on personal comfort and convenience.

  64. Lia says:

    The storyline is not appealing at all, and I’m getting really sick of J-Law. I’m not inclined to contribute to her income, or the dip she’s sleeping with.