We’re only five weeks away from the release of Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming psychological thriller mother! and we still don’t really know what it’s about. In an era when movie fans feel entitled to having access to all aspects of a film well before its release, mother! is proving to be an anomaly. Even its first full-length trailer, released Tuesday, left us scratching our heads.
We already knew that Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem play a married couple. We knew that they’re paid a visit by another couple, played by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer. The trailer, which begins with the words “seeing is believing,” offers a few more clues about what it is Aronofsky has concocted.
Bardem and Harris’ characters know each other. We know this because Lawrence finds a picture of her husband in Harris’ bag. We also get our first real glimpse at the movie’s more supernatural elements that we’d previously heard rumors about. Light bulbs bleed and explode. Walls corrode in the blink of an eye. Hordes of zombie-like visitors storm the house. This is not a glowing endorsement for Airbnb.
It is however, concrete evidence that Aronofsky continues to be one of our most interesting filmmakers, a reputation he earned with his genuinely experimental debut Pi and has been living up to ever since. Aronofsky previously dipped his toes in horror with films like Black Swan and to a certain extent Requiem for a Dream. But with mother! he’s diving in headfirst. This is Aronofsky channeling the gothic dread of Polanski’s Repulsion while the whole “descent into madness” vibe of the trailer recalls Kubrick’s The Shining.
The film—which hits the festival circuit before a juicy fall release—seems primed for an Oscar run. But it’ll have two things working against it. Voters typically shy away from weird horror movies and, based on the trailer, mother! definitely looks like it fits into that category. There’s also been some murmurs about Aronofsky’s decision to cast Lawrence and Bardem—who’s 22 years her senior—as husband and wife. While that certainly won’t prevent people from championing this movie, it could threaten to dominate a good chunk of the narrative moving forward, as the tweets below suggest.
This trailer looks lit but also the pairing of Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem is like, Woody Allen levels of nohttps://t.co/x3pc6B54Tb— Ira Madison III (@ira) August 8, 2017
If I made movies I would only cast the young hot 20 something men of Hollywood with great actresses in their 40s and 50s— Ira Madison III (@ira) August 8, 2017
This looks so creepy. Javier Bardem plays Jennifer Lawrence’s husband despite being 22 years older than her OoOoOoOo https://t.co/ILeSTsYtJb— Jesse David Fox (@JesseDavidFox) August 8, 2017
Either way, mother is shaping up to be one of the most talked about films of the fall, for better or for worse.