While the critical response to Mother! spans from exuberant praise to completely underwhelmed, audiences are less divided. General audiences largely hated or didn’t care at all about the latest from Darren Aronofsky — which we will just describe here as “Jennifer Lawrence gets terrorized for two hours and it means everything or nothing” — as reflected by its now-infamous F rating from CinemaScore. (It joins an exclusive club of 19 other movies with that dubious distinction.) Darren Aronofsky has been informed about this feedback, and went on The Frame to talk it through.
“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.”
So in addition to maybe being about God and “the environmental stuff,” Mother!, as per the words of its director, is also “a total punch” and “a punk movie” made to “come at you,” and he knew you were going to give it an F grade. (Because, really, what kind of God/creator/poet would he be if he didn’t see that coming?) However, Aronofsky seems pretty chill with you feeling any way about Mother! that strikes you, saying, “I wanted to howl. And this was my howl. And some people are not going to want to listen to it. That’s cool.” He just really needed to get it off (out of?) his chest.