Darren Aronofsky: ‘mother!’ is a punk movie, we’re ‘holding up a mirror’ to society

'Mother!' Premiere - Arrivals

Earlier this week, we talked about how ‘mother!’ bombed in its opening weekend. The film was billed and advertised as a mysterious mass-market horror film starring America’s Farty Sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence. There was a whirlwind promotional tour through three film festivals. There was a European press tour and an American press tour. They wanted this film to be huge. It didn’t even crack $10 million in the first weekend. The reviews were very mixed, with strong emotions on either side. Emotions like “this film is ghastly” and “Darren Aronofsky thinks he’s being so deep but really this sucks so hard” and “was I meant to laugh hysterically at the end?” The film also received that rarest of bad honors: an “F” CinemaScore.

I’m fine with spreading around the blame for this box office failure – ‘mother!’ was badly marketed, and Jennifer Lawrence should not have said yes to this. But can we all agree that most of the blame should fall on writer-director Darren Aronofsky? Because YIKES, this dude thinks he’s the most brilliant religious scholar/artist of all time and he just made a schlocky torture-p0rn with super-obvious religious allegories. If ‘mother!’ had come from Mel Gibson, I don’t think anyone would have been surprised. But it came from ARTISTE Darren Aronofsky, who is so butthurt that no one understands his ART. Aronofsky said as much to The Frame this week:

On the F CinemaScore and the bad reviews:
What’s interesting about that is, like, how if you walk out of this movie are you not going to give it an “F?” It’s a punch. It’s a total punch. And I realize that we were excited by that. We wanted to make a punk movie and come at you. And the reason I wanted to come is because I was very sad and I had a lot of anguish and I wanted to express it. Filmmaking is such a hard journey. People are constantly saying no to you. And to wake up every morning and get out of bed and to face all those no’s, you have to be willing to really believe in something. And that’s what I look for in my collaborators and what I pitched the actors I said, Look, this isn’t going to be a popularity contest. We’re basically holding up a mirror to what’s going on. All of us are doing this. But that final chapter hasn’t been written and hopefully things can change. And, to go back, the fact that it’s going down right now and things are really falling apart in a way that is really scary.

It’s scary when you talk to the people who are studying this and thinking about this and then you have other people who basically believe in the power of a iPhone that they can communicate to 35 million people in a blink of an eye, yet they don’t believe in science in other ways. You know, which is as proven as gravity at this point, really. It has as many people believe in it as believe in gravity. And it scares me and it’s time to start screaming. So I wanted to howl. And this was my howl. And some people are not going to want to listen to it. That’s cool.

[From The Frame]

OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Yes, ‘mother!’ was just too punk for normal filmgoers. It was too deep. No one understands the deep art of the frustrated white man who occasionally gets told “no.” Aronofsky was trying to challenge the system by making a cheap Biblical allegory and banging his 20-something lead actress. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS. No one “gets” this very deep and profound artist and his struggles with making a torture p0rn movie. Thank God his naive actress girlfriend thinks he’s so brilliant. That almost makes his struggle worth it. *wipes away one lonely tear for oppressed and misunderstood white dudes*

'Mother!' New York Premiere - Arrivals

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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75 Responses to “Darren Aronofsky: ‘mother!’ is a punk movie, we’re ‘holding up a mirror’ to society”

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  1. HelloSunshine says:

    My eyes just tried to roll out of my head. People need to stop blowing smoke up this guy’s butt. If you constantly have to remind people how brilliant you are (or have your gf do it for you), you’re probably not that brilliant and, deep down, you know it.

    Also, his face makes me angry. I think it’s because his personality sucks and it’s just taking over.

  2. Maum says:

    This guy should be Lars von Trier’s wingman.

  3. Maya says:

    Spare me from men who think they are smart and the rest of them world isn’t.

  4. Kate says:

    Jennifer Lawrence made a great choice doing this film. Even people who loathe the film are praising her performance, and a ton of influential filmmakers are totally in love with it and her in it.

    Long-term, it’s probably the best choice she’s made since Winter’s Bone.

  5. Nicole says:

    He sounds like every dude I hated in college. Yes the rest of the world is just TOO DUMB to understand your “vision”. Please shut up. Your movie sucked. It was not well done. And I don’t need biblical allegories to hit me over the head to understand it. You’re not a genius. The more they try to explain it the more they sound stupid. It’s not challenging. It’s not feminist. Please stop.
    And jen shouldn’t have taken this movie or taken up with him either. Now she looks like an idiot fawning over his “genius” while everyone drags them both. Oh and three box office failures back to back. She should re-evaluate immediately

  6. Who ARE these people? says:

    What is he saying? That people use cell phone technology but are idiots about the fact that science underlies the technology?

    If he hates his work so much, he can change careers, except then he wouldn’t get to be around the actresses.

    • Esmom says:

      Thats what I thought he said. I also think he could have commented on the state of the world in many ways and this particular narrative was not the only way to do it.

    • Sophia's Side eye says:

      I thought he was referring to trump tweeting, yet being a climate change denier? I don’t know.

      • MrsPanda says:

        Sophia’s Side eye, I thought the same thing. I’m sure he’s talking about Trump. Trump has around 35 mill followers on twitter. In the one interview I saw, Aronofsky said the movie is so timely because he wrote it during Obama’s term but the fact it’s released now (under Trump) makes it more ”poignant and uncanny”. JLaw also spoke about the recent hurricanes and Mother nature’s fury for what we have done to the planet, and is an outspoken Trump critic. It’s clear Aronofsky believes himself to be some kind of artistic visionary whose masterpiece has truly captured the zeitgeist (cough cough). Whilst politically I’m on their side, it’s this kind of pretentiousness that makes the ”other side” hate elitist Hollywood liberals, and I don’t blame them!

      • magnoliarose says:

        He is exactly the kind of pretentious artiste that make the left look like self-involved arrogant snobs.

  7. roses says:

    What the heck did I just read? This man is so far up his own behind. JL needs to run!

  8. Shirurusu says:

    What’s that I hear? Oh it’s the world’s smallest violin playing for this snowflake

  9. Mia4s says:

    Hahahahahahahaha! Thanks for the best laugh I’ve had today!

    Sweetie you spend $5 million of a studio’s money on a punk “too much for the mainstream” movie…not $30 million. You spend $30 million you better bring them something they can sell. I don’t see another studio making that mistake again with him.

  10. Tulsi 2020 says:

    “The reviews were very mixed, with strong emotions on either side.”

    Normally the sign of a worthwhile film.

  11. Eiré says:

    There’s a brief mention of Aronofsky in Meet Me in the Bathroom. Someone details how he used to rock up to a hip underground hangout and stand by the bar posing and trolling for girls who’d listen to his artistic sufferings. I believe the term used to describe him was ‘Tosser’. And now that is literally all I think of when I see his smug face.

  12. Tiffany27 says:

    Bitch, you marketed the movie as a horror film, released it one week after a really good horror film, and because people don’t like it it’s a punk movie?!?!? Sit your entire ass down and take this L. The movie sucked. The end. There will be plenty of other mediocrity for you to put into the world and receive unnecessary praise for.

  13. Kirby says:

    Can someone make an inception style movie about making this movie? Cause THAT would be “holding up a mirror” to this cliched situation

  14. Annabelle Bronstein says:

    All I heard was “I went to Harvard.”

  15. Mike says:

    He is so deep that I can’t even understand what he is saying

  16. happyoften says:

    It must be terribly frustrating to be so.much.smarter than everyone else. It is a testament to his character that he keeps trying to give us these teachable moments in an effort to elevate our consciousness.

    Not that it matters to him, he’s totally cool with our not “getting” it. He really is a giant of understanding and patience. One day, I tell you, one day we’ll all REALIZE! And that’s enough for him.

    Too good for this world, Darren, we don’t deserve you.

  17. Alex says:

    This movie is as pretentious as him wearing three scarves. It’s all style, no substance.
    Also, he gave explanation of this movie before it even premiered. Have some respect for the audience. Maybe they just think you’re not that special as you think you are. Saying it’s “high art” and “deep” doesn’t make it high art or deep

  18. Cassie 231 says:

    Lawrence will be fine. If anything, appearing in this signals that she’s willing to take risks that most stars aren’t – which will help her get cast by the directors she wants to work for. Put it this way – is she more or less likely now to be cast by someone like Tarantino? The answer is obvious.

  19. littlemissnaughty says:

    You guys. It was MEANT to bomb. Because he’s telling the truth and he’s the only one!!! That is such a burden! Like that crazy geezer playing president and his deplorables. I love it when sad white dudes think they have it so hard and the world is just out to get them. I think so much less of JLaw for letting this delusional, aging hipster artiste climb on top of her. There is no nicer way to say this.

    But fear not, he will be fine after wasting millions on something soooper important. We’re so lucky to have him.

  20. detritus says:

    Ahahahahaa CALLED IT, like everyone, who couldn’t see this answer coming a mile away..
    You silly plebes, you just don’t understand an artiste! *slow wank motion
    Do you think he gets a halfie every time JLaw talks about her diaphragm rupturing? Or does that only happen for positive reviews that include the word ‘genius’?

    For such a creative and daring director, I’m suprised he came back with such a cliched response. Nothing left in the tank, so to speak eh?

  21. Jan says:

    You are entirely right Darren! We are all morons and too stupid to breathe compared to you and your genius! Not hardly, you delusional and pretentious a$$.

  22. Moon says:

    “you have other people who basically believe in the power of a iPhone that they can communicate to 35 million people in a blink of an eye, yet they don’t believe in science in other ways.”

    Oh Darren, trying to blame misunderstanding of your movie on uneducated climate denier peasants who are just too unintelligent. Did you think any of them actually showed up for this movie? I’m willing to bet that most of the less than 10million box office viewers were the arty farty intellectuals who could be bothered at trying. They came, they saw, they said F. I know because I was one of them. People weren’t too stupid to understand, people saw through the pretensions, that’s what.

    • Wren says:

      I am very confused as to how understanding science or not relates to liking this film. It’s like he’s throwing out every dried up old excuse for people not liking his pile of “art” poop. “You didn’t like my movie?! Well, you must be an iPhone using idiot who JUST DOESN’T GET IT!!! Neener neener you’re just stupid and jelly!!!!”

  23. ell says:

    i wrote it yesterday, but while i do think he’s pretentious and the movie gave me a headache (and i do like artsy stuff a lot), it’s hard for me to hate what he does. nowadays most films are uninspired full of nothings, at least he’s trying something different.

    • Why not says:

      Thank you. I’m pretty sure I’d dislike the movie, he does come off as “boo hoo, first world problems” here plus banging your lead actress does not garner respect. But I believe he is a talented writer and director and has a unique vision in his films. Look at all of the discussion and the strong reaction the film has provoked. It has made people feel something, whether love or hate. Can’t say the same about many movies made today. It could very well be terrible but I agree, at least he’s not a sell-out or copying others.

  24. Sage says:

    He seems so creepy. I wonder how much longer Jennifer has to remain in this relationship.

  25. Shambles says:

    Oh, f*ck you, dude. Seriously. I really hope someone comes up to him, says “f*ck you” as forcefully as possible, then walks away. He needs it. Such a pretentious tw*t. Because NO ONE has ever done a bible allegory before, and torture pr0n and DB’s are so artistic and deep.

  26. monette says:

    Littlemissnaughy: I too have lost my respect for JLaw and I loved how u said it, for letting this pretentious douche climb her.
    With every interview for this movie my impression of her gets lower and lower.
    Oh, JLaw, been there. When u will wake up you’ll realize the sex wasn’t even that good. You just fantasized it was ’cause you thought he was a genius.
    Moon: spot on!!

  27. adastraperaspera says:

    It’s getting 67% on Rotten Tomatoes today, so I guess we’ll see how it fares over time (fades away, becomes cult classic, etc.). That said, I’m not interested in seeing the same old trope of mother earth raped and pillaged while distant male god figure looks on helplessly. I don’t need a mirror held up to “what’s going on” to know that women and the earth are being violently assaulted on a daily basis. Is this news? I need artists who can imagine scenarios that overcome the sadistic patriarchal paradigm, instead of merely putting it on grotesque display.

  28. Hikaru says:

    A lot of men abuse women when they start to howl~ you’re not original, egghead.

  29. nona says:

    Ok, the first paragraph of his response was artistic bull. But I like what he’s saying in the second paragraph. I didn’t take it as “people are too dumb to understand.” I took it as a slap toward Trump, whose tweets go out to millions of people, but who doesn’t believe in climate change and other scientific facts. Makes me want to scream and howl too.

  30. Ophelia says:

    No one understands Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life but you don’t hear him whining. Make your movie, if people like it they like it, if people don’t then it’s different strokes for different folks.

    No need to call people who don’t like your art “stupid”, how condescending.

  31. Alix says:

    Filmmaking’s a hard journey, people!

  32. TooEarly says:

    I liked the movie! Aronofsky sounds insufferable, sure. Many Hollywood directors are insufferable. I’d rather have a cliched ARTISTE DIRECT-TOR making insane movies than sexual predators (*cough* Bryan Singer *cough*) making another superhero movie. My husband and I talked about the movie on the entire drive home, which is a rarity these days. The allegories are obvious and many, and I think that’s the point? Or at least that’s what I took away from it. Allegories aside, it’s a wildly intense film that builds at a steady clip over two hours. That being said, Aronofsky needs to stop telling people the movie is ART. We get it man, you are an ARTISTE. Jlaw…you were great.

  33. Nic919 says:

    No one who is actually punk has to ever label their stuff as punk for people to know. Aronofsky’s age of 47 is really showing here. He is not the cool auteur he thinks he is and doesn’t understand he is the establishment. Just because he is dating a young woman doesn’t make him cool. In fact it makes him creepy. Dating a woman his own age who calls him on his shit would be punk.

  34. S says:

    Pretentious asshats like Aronofsky — he wears scarves indoor, y’all — are exactly who a certain segment of Americans are thinking of when they say, “liberal elite Hollywood.” Someone with their head so far up their own backsides, and so in love with their own ideas and faux intellect, their only response to criticism is, You’re not smart enough to get me.

    Mother isn’t “punk rock,” and it didn’t get an “F” CinemaScore because climate change-denying Evangelicals flocked to the theaters on opening night. (I mean, yeah, I know, NO ONE flocked; it bombed.)

    It got an “F” because it was marketed as a psychological horror film featuring one of the world’s best-known actresses and instead it’s a clunky, torture-porn Bible allegory that THINKS it’s commenting on society’s misogyny, while clearly being incredibly misogynistic. Something misunderstood artiste Aronofsky couldn’t see, and not-very-bright JLaw fell for. ‘Oh he’s mean to me and the experience was awful, he must be a genius!’ (She’s that girl, whom negging actually works on.)

    Aronofsky thinks he’s deep when he’s really about as shallow as a mud puddle. He and JLaw are actually probably well matched.

  35. Ann says:

    Pretty much every man I know and then some, thinks he is a misunderstood genius. Not sure why so many women buy into that bs?

  36. Bliss 51 says:

    According to IMDB the estimated budget for mother, $33,000,000, so someone said yes. I don’t know how many millions went into the rollout. How is that punk and why would punk be important?

  37. Mindrew says:

    My husband went to both middle school and high school with Darren. He and Darren also look very much alike – so much so, that they were constantly being mistaken for one another back then (and they look even more alike now, btw). That never bugged my husband, but according to the folks he kept in touch with from high school, it always bugged the crap out of Darren. ‘Punk’ was never a word my husband would have used to describe Darren. Obnoxious? Yes. Pretentious? Sure. Math geek? Certainly (when we saw Pi, husband turned to me and said that that movie was EXACTLY what he would have expected from Darren). Artistic? Not on your life. Punk? No freaking way.

    • holly hobby says:

      Interesting! So was he one of those outcasts that ate lunch by himself because “no one understood him?” During the whole Rachel Weiss debacle, I had a glimmer of sympathy for him because she left him for James Bond. But now, I can see why!

  38. Alexis says:

    This movie will end up making a lot of money. The reason why? EVERYONE is talking about it. I did not want to see this movie when it first came out, but now I do. I took what he was saying as a shot at the people who believe in organized religion, but not in science, and also people who believe in the science of technology, but not in climate change. However, he did come across as condescending.

  39. paranormalgirl says:

    All I read were random words strung together by pretentiousness and righteous indignation..

  40. magnoliarose says:

    I hear he has a collection of berets he is dying to whip out for photo calls, but Rachel once told him it was a tad too much. She nixed the antique flask he had planned to make his trademark and the John Lennon sunglasses too.

    Lately, though he has been caught reorganizing them so…

  41. wood dragon says:

    Wind River was an excellent movie that deserves far more attention, but do you hear it’s director whining? Nope.

  42. ValiantlyVarnished says:

    I would be shocked if these two were still together come awards season.

  43. Cat87 says:

    Omg so punk…maybe he is more like Ska punk or pop punk. You know sound rebellious but still very commercial with no sense of true self expression.

    I find the theme of this moving tiring, “holding a mirror to society.” Yeah whatever been there done that 1,000 times over

  44. TotallyBiased says:

    You GUISE!!! Filmmaking is HARD, you guise!!!

  45. Mannori says:

    I’m always for directors taking risks and not aiming to deliver popular, likable and “safe” films. It happens less and less and only directors already stablished can do it on a certain level of quality. The rest of them, the talented risk-taking directors, operate in the very difficult and anonymous context of indie films, often losing their own money, often straight to VOD. But there’s one line that can’t be crossed, at for me, and changes all the approach and even the quality of their projects and how they’re perceived, and that is how much they think if themselves and their art. Ir rather, how much they’re willing to express what they really think of themselves and about the public. Because I can guarantee that most of them “artistes” have an oversized ego and think of the general public as dumb people, who doesn’t understand their art. Which in most of the cases it is true: some art is not made for the masses. So why bitching about not being understood when you knew it would happen even before starting writing your film? And why appeal to the old trick of putting a popular yet mediocre actress as your lead, in the hope that would bring more audience to it? He thought that hiring JLaw would guarantee the greenlighting, which probably was what actually happened, and also would guarantee him a certain amount of “dumb” moviegoers watching the film just because she’s in. Which is never a good bet. She’s not even a thespian able to carry such type of movie. I would have watched the hell out of this crap had if someone like Mackenzie Davis or Tessa Thompson as the lead. Let me say though, that I absolutely believe that JLaw can deliver good performances given the right material, I’m not one of her haters. But again, she’s not “that” talented. She’s just very charismatic and funny (sometimes cringeworthy, yes) off screen and that’s what made a star out of her. So given all that, and the way he handled all the promo as well, misguiding the general public into an horror film that is not, just because we all know that “horror movies” are popular, and putting a star as the lead, I sense a lot of hypocrisy and attempt to outsmart the public and underestimate his own audience, just for that I’m less of a fan of his work from now on. I’m the kind of bitter cinephile that remembers very well when is being tricked.