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Darren Aronofsky
Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris
Writing Credits:
Darren Aronofsky

A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Box Office:
$69 million.
Opening Weekend
$7,534,673 on 2368 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby Atmos
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
English Audio Description
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 121 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 12/19/2017

• “The Downward Spiral” Featurette
• “The Makeup Effects of mother!” Featurette
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


mother! [4K UHD] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 17, 2017)

For his first effort since 2014’s Noah, ambitious filmmaker Darren Aronofshy returns with 2017’s mother!. A famous poet (Javier Bardem) and his young wife (Jennifer Lawrence) take up residence in a remote home.

Struck with writer’s block, the poet hopes that this setting will spur his creative juices, and his wife attempts to assist him as she restores the house. This starts to unravel when an older man (Ed Harris) shows up at their house and eventually invites his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer). Matters slowly spiral out of control from there.

Aronofsky seems like a polarizing director, though I admit I can’t quite get a handle on how I feel about him. On one hand, I actively loathed the pretentious and absurd Black Swan, but I liked Noah and Requiem for a Dream, so I don’t let my disdain for Swan override everything else.

With mother!, we get Good Aronofsky and Bad Aronofsky crammed all into one intriguing, befuddling and occasionally maddening package. The film clearly failed to resonate with audiences, as not only did the movie bomb at the box office, but also those who did see it awarded it spectacularly low ratings.

To some degree, I blame the promotional campaign for mother!, as it made promises the film couldn’t deliver. Paramount touted it as an “event movie” – ads promised “you will never forget where you were the first time you saw mother!.

Based on the trailers, I think audiences expected some form of Gothic horror film, not the warped, mind-bending effort they got. Inevitably this led to severe disappointment and anger.

I saw mother! theatrically and found myself between the extremes. While I understand the dissatisfaction it inspires, I think it delivers an often dynamic and engaging effort.

For its first two acts, at least, as the movie goes off the rails during its final third. Granted, Aronofsky walks a tightrope, as he builds a tale anchored in metaphor that doesn’t shy away from surreal imagery and a lack of realism from the start while he still tries to keep the viewer invested in some form of realism.

Let’s face it: we need to attach to the wife and the poet as people if we’ll connect to the increasingly outrageous story. As noted, Aronofsky offers distorted, surreal material from the film’s onset, but the movie seems grounded in the real world enough to let us dig into it.

These moments fare best, as the film succeeds when it sticks with the perplexing rather than the genuinely bizarre. The visitor and his wife behave strangely, but not to such a degree that they seem wholly unbelievable. This allows the movie a sense of skewed reality that intrigues us and provokes us to figure out the nature of the material.

Interpretations of the story/characters vary, though Biblical allusions abound. The visitor and his wife clearly stand in for Adam and Eve, which makes the poet God and the young wife “Mother Earth”. The visitor’s kids become Abel and Cain – and so on.

I also think the story offers an allegory for the Price of Fame. We see the way fans treat the poet and their ever-increasing demands along with abhorrent behavior. Throw in Lawrence’s status as a “tabloid queen” and it doesn’t become a stretch to interpret that side of the tale.

However one dissects the movie, I feel it keeps us engaged best during those initial two acts. After that, the metaphors fly fast and violent as the movie becomes wholly unhinged.

To some degree, I feel this derails what Aronofsky accomplished with the first two acts. Those moments feel intriguing without a sense of obnoxiousness, but the last third comes across as chaotic and abrasive.

Which Aronofsky clearly intended, but I just don’t think it works. The final act flies off the rails and gives the viewer too little grounding.

Still, mother! presents a thought-provoking piece, and I respect its ambitions. While the movie doesn’t fully succeed, it turns into a memorable experience, warts and all.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio A/ Bonus C+

mother! appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Most of the film looked good, but some issues arose.

Actually, only one surprising concern popped up here: print flaws. Every once in a while, I saw a small speck interfere with the image. These stayed infrequent and minor, but I expect zero source defects from a 2017 film, so their arrival caught me off-guard.

The rest of the picture seemed positive. Sharpness worked well, as the movie mustered good clarity and delineation. I wouldn’t call it razor-sharp, but the image seemed concise within 16mm cinematographical choices.

mother! opted for a mainly orange and teal palette. It broadened at times, but those hues dominated. They appeared well-rendered related to stylistic choices.

Blacks appeared dark and dense, while shadows were well-rendered. We got a lot of dimly-lit sequences, and these largely offered positive clarity. Though much of the picture satisfied, I admit the print flaws – however minor – prompted me to lower my grade to a “B”.

Given the movie’s focus on characters and a single location, one might anticipate a low-key Dolby Atmos soundtrack. However, one would anticipate incorrectly, as mother! came with a simply outstanding mix.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the audio used all the speakers in a dynamic manner. Much of this focused on speech, movement and environmental information – that may not seem exciting, but theway the track spread and localized all the elements created an outstanding sense of place and action. The material combined in a convincing manner that added a lot to the film’s impact.

Audio quality also appeared positive, with natural, concise speech. The film lacked music, and effects came across as lively, accurate and full, with tight, warm low-end. The soundtrack sizzled.

How did the 4K compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio appeared identical, as both discs included the same Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

Though I gave both the Blu-ray and the 4K “B” ratings for picture, they got there in different ways. The 4K offered stronger delineation and colors along with better-depicted low-light scenes.

However, those print flaws I mentioned only popped up in the 4K edition. This surprised me – I would assume the Blu-ray and the 4K would come from the same transfer, so it seems odd only the 4K included the specks.

How this happened befuddles me, but it did, and that became one difference that favored the Blu-ray. Nonetheless, the 4K worked better in other ways – the specks bothered me, but the 4K turned into the more satisfying viewing experience overall.

No extras appear on the 4K disc itself, but the bonus Blu-ray provides two featurettes. The Downward Spiral runs 29 minutes, 51 seconds and provides notes from writer/director Darren Aronofsky, producers Scott Franklin and Ari Handel, production designer Phil Messina, cinematographer Matty Libatique, editor Andy Weisblum, and actors Jennifer Lawrence, Ed Harris, and Javier Bardem.

“Spiral” looks at story/character and the film’s development, cast and performances, sets and locations, photography, and production elements. “Spiral” mixes some good observations with useful footage from the set to become a winning glimpse of the shoot.

The Makeup FX of mother! lasts six minutes, 41 seconds and features makeup effects designer Adrien Morot. He discusses some of his creations in this fairly informative piece.

A challenging film, mother! works well for its first two acts and goes a little bonkers after that. Despite this inconsistency, the movie offers enough substance and provocative material to make it worth a look. The 4K UHD offers generally good picture along with excellent audio and some engaging bonus materials. mother! will polarize but I think it’s an intriguing effort.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of MOTHER!

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