Jennifer Lawrence’s new movie mother! opens Friday. It’s directed by (her boyfriend) Darren Aronofsky, and promises to be as surreal and controversial as his previous films, Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. Lawrence plays the movie’s title character, although according to the Hollywood Reporter, none of the characters have actual names. She and Javier Bardem play a married couple (despite the fact that in real life, he’s 21 years older than she is, but then again, Aronofsky is 22 years her senior, so who’s counting?) living alone in a country farmhouse until some unexpected visitors arrive and things take a dark turn.
The movie, a psychological horror film that’s also an allegory about the state of the planet, premiered at the Venice Film Festival last week. Lawrence told the Hollywood Reporter that someone asked her if she thought the movie would traumatize fans of The Hunger Games, and she replied, “I hope it does. That’s the whole point. I hope it does traumatize people—into action.”
In an interview with Variety, Lawrence said she believes mother! is feminist, despite the fact that her character is submissive and vulnerable. She read Jane Eyre during the shoot, and said, “To be a feminist movie, we don’t have to all be women and all be aggressive. Before we knew what feminism was, people were writing these novels that showed women’s strength being drained from them.”
She also revealed that making the film was very intense for her, and that she had trouble coming out of character after Aronofsky called cut. She said, “I kind of lost control of myself. I tore my diaphragm and popped my chest rib out… I don’t know if I’d ever work with Darren again.”
As for Lawrence’s relationship with Aronofsky, which began once shooting ended, she talked a bit about it in in Vogue last month and said, “I’ve been in relationships before where I am just confused. And I’m never confused with him.” Maybe when Aronofsky wrote it, he was already envisioning Lawrence as his real-life leading woman, or maybe it happened subconsciously. That aspect of his life may stick close to the script, but let’s hope the rest of mother’s disturbing storyline never happens in reality.