mother! Explained…for Now [UPDATED]

mother 65 SC MILF Mother I'd Like To Film 123wtf Saint Pauly

mother 01 poster 123wtf Saint Pauly

Spoiler Alert:

I shall be dissecting mother!, poring over her images and exploring her origins to determine if it’s mother’s day or one bad mother. So read on only if you’ve already seen mother!, or don’t plan to.

Watch MOTHER here

mother 73 SC Urine for a treat 123wtf Saint Pauly
Urine for a treat

[NOTE: For those interested in only reading the explanations of the symbols, scroll all the way down to the “*Notes” section that concludes this synopsis.]

0:00:44 mother! starts off with a burning woman who’s not Jennifer Lawrence (rather Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse as Rachel Weisz ‘foremother’). Don’t worry, Jennifer Lawrence will get burned eventually, once the press see the film.

[N.B. Like Ms. Labrosse, many of the actors in mother! are French Canadian, as it was filmed in Quebec.]

mother 02 SC Like my trolls burned 123wtf Saint Pauly
Like any of my trolls: Burned!

0:01:01

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Who’s a gay man’s best friend?

[N.B. Some notes concerning the title: Aronofsky explains that the exclamation mark at the end of the title “reflects the spirit of the film. The film kind of has an exclamation point; at the end of it, there’s a big exclamation point. So I think the title was just a bit better that way.
And for the lower-case ‘m’? “To find out why there’s a lowercase ‘m’, read the credits and look for the letter that isn’t [sic–it is, in point of fact, the only letter that iscapitalised. Ask yourself what’s another name for this character?
To save you time, I’m including a screenshot of the credits with an indication of the only letter that is capitalised: the ‘H’ of ‘Him’, who is also God, implying that the ‘m’ of ‘mother’ is left lower-case because she is not God.]

mother 04 SC Where it's due 123wtf Saint Pauly

0:01:11 A man (Javier Bardem as ‘Him’ / God), places a vaguely heart-shaped crystal on a metal support, because men love putting women on pedestals.

[N.B. The crystal represents Love and will play a major role in the film’s denouement (see 1:54:54).]

mother 05 SC Heart of glass 123wtf Saint Pauly
Heart of glass

0:01:52 The house is magically restored as all of the burnt bits and ashes transform back into their original state. Even the pile of ashes in the bed becomes a different female (Jennifer Lawrence as ‘mother’ / Mother Nature). Ashes to asses and dust to bust…

mother 06 SC 'I feel like a new woman' 123wtf Saint Pauly
“I feel like a new woman!”

0:03:17 She can’t find Him upon waking so, after wandering through an empty house still littered with moving-in boxes, she stands on the front porch and becomes intimidated by the garden, even though she doesn’t have to tend it.

[N.B. Her attitude to the anything beyond the physical confines of the house is wary and filled with apprehension. I suspect this is because, as she represents mother nature and the house represents the earth, what lies beyond is quite literally alien to her. This theme reoccurs in the film and is a major symbol of her isolation. (See 44:38 and note after 1:33:48)]

0:04:18 He startles her from behind. He explains He was walking the grounds.

mother: Why didn’t you wake me?
Him: I wanted to be alone. I mean, I needed to clear my head and get ideas flowing.
mother: And did they?
Him: No.

Then He leaves her to take a shower, despite her insistence that she likes the way He smells and her obvious sexual excitation. (She’s hornier than a bull with tip extensions.)

mother 09 SC 'What am I going to do with myself' 123wtf Saint Pauly
“What am I going to do with myself?”

[N.B. She is clearly more content with their isolation than he, and this will continue throughout the film, as will the theme of his writer’s block and its link to his lack of libido. On another topic, note how she never wears a bra or shoes at any point in the film. This is done to highlight the sense of her ‘natural-ness’.]

0:05:48 While preparing to paint an interior room, mother places her hand on a wall and feels a heart inside of it. She never misses a beat, that mother.

mother 07 SC The matter of the heart 123wtf Saint Pauly
The matter of the heart

[N.B. The condition of the heart represents the condition of the planet, which is a living thing. Here we see the heart is pink/red and in perfect health, meaning the earth herself is in perfect condition, as well.]

0:06:14 She adds some yellow flavoured cocaine [pigment] to a thick porridge [clay-based paint] with which she intends to paint the wall, and this suits her far better than the normal porridge.

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Once begun it’s half done!

[N.B. We shall see a great deal of the yellow powder throughout the first half of the film.]

0:07:48 Just as he falls prey to his writer’s block yet again, there’s a knock on their front door. This happens to me when I’m working, as well, though the knock on the door is usually Instagram.

0:09:16 The stranger at their front door turns out to be a lost doctor (Ed Harris as ‘man’, i.e. Adam) looking for a B&B. The doctor needs to stick around because things here will get very sick.

[N.B. The arrival of Adam here represents the arrival of Man in the Garden of Eden. Mother Nature is not happy, as she recognises in Man a threat, though God is quite content as he was feeling a bit lonesome. Additionally, the man mentions he is an orthopaedic surgeon / researcher, which is interesting in that orthopaedics is the field of medicine that deals with bones…such as missing ribs. Finally, the man makes a crack that he assumed mother was His daughter, not His wife, in reference to the age difference that no doubt exists between God and the earth.]

mother 10 SC He's looking for a place to crash and burn 123wtf Saint Pauly
He’s looking for a place to crash…and burn

0:09:58 While she’s preparing tea, mother becomes weak and feels the house returning to its desecrated state for a moment. Like a driving student learning in a Honda, this feeling passes on its own accord.

0:11:38 He invites the man to stay the night, and though she is obviously against it [Jennifer Lawrence does a marvellous job showing us her discomfort at the thought], she has to agree in the end because it’s what He wants. The expression is ‘God’s will’ and not ‘God’s won’t’, after all.

0:12:14 The man returns with his bags, and a cigarette which he proceeds to light up.

mother: Uhm, we don’t smoke.
man: That’s smart!
mother: …in the house.
Man: Sorry!

I can so relate to mother here, as this kind of guest is why I hate humanity in general, too. Also, do you see what a giant pain in the arse God is being here? He’s so desperate to be liked that he won’t even defend his wife.  One thing this film teaches us is that God is kind of an arsehole, though many of us suspected that already.

mother 11 SC J-Law isn't the only one who's smokin' 123wtf Saint Pauly
J-Law isn’t the only one who’s smokin’

0:12:54 While in the cellar to fetch the man some bedding, she’s distracted by a noise seemingly coming from behind a wall. A loud thud is heard, the wall shakes slightly, and we’re shown it’s only the sound of the heater coming on.  It must be hot as hell down there.

[N.B. The cellar represents purgatory / the entrance to hell, and it’s not a coincidence that the flames start up when Man arrives.]

mother 12 SC One hell of a basement 123wtf Saint Pauly
One hell of a basement

0:14:22 He has taken the man up into his study, where the man learns that He is a writer/poet [creator] and gushes about how much he admires his work. This is logical, as Adam was not a self-made man.

[N.B. This room quite possibly represents the Garden of Eden as it’s found between the bedroom (Heaven) and the ground floor (Earth). This analogy will become even more apparent when He evicts ‘man’ and ‘woman’ from this room after they touch the crystal he forbade them from touching. (See note after 39:21)]

0:14:32 The man reaches out to touch the crystal heart, but He intervenes and asks him to leave it a alone.

mother 13 SC Trying to steal her heart 123wtf Saint Pauly
Trying to steal her heart

0:15:08 He tells the man the crystal is a gift from someone not mother, then goes on to explain how he lost everything in a fire when he was younger and was about to give up creating he found the crystal. You could say it ‘enheartened’ him, if you weren’t afraid of ridicule.

[N.B. This scene is key to my theory that mother! exists on two levels, the first being the story of the Bible and the second that of Darren Aronofsky himself, where he is the creator looking for public admiration at the expense of his companions. After all, the Bible makes no mention of a previous world destroyed by fire before our current earth was created, so what else could this scene be referring to if not Aronofsky’s separation from Rachel Weisz after nine years and one child.]

mother 14 SC Burning love 123wtf Saint Pauly
Burning love

0:16:38 She wakes up to find she’s alone in bed, so goes downstairs looking for Him. Beside the man’s bed, she finds a lighter and a small bowl of smouldering cigarettes, instead. She looks disgusted because she doesn’t like looking at someone else’s hot butt.

0:16:47 Following retching noises coming from the toilets, she discovers the man being sick. Her husband is holding the bald man’s hair back, metaphorically speaking. Then He covers up an exposed gash on the man’s rib cage. #Mangina

mother 15 SC Adam has no more spare ribs 123wtf Saint Pauly
Adam doesn’t have any spare ribs

[N.B. The hole in Adam’s side is where one of his ribs was removed to create Eve / woman, who will arrive in the morning.]

0:17:12 While leaving, she notices his lighter on the chest of drawers and conveniently loses it for him behind the piece of furniture.

[N.B. The cigarette lighter represents man’s discovery of fire (or god-like power), while the symbol on it, a Wendehorn, is runic and represents life’s great dichotomies: good / evil , man / woman, fire / ice, night / day, life / death…), which demonstrate that the man has this ability to distinguish between right and wrong. She hides it from him because she understands the destructive properties inherent in it and thus the risks it poses to her and her house.]

mother 16 SC The way, the truth and the lighter 123wtf Saint Pauly
The way, the truth, and the lighter

0:17:58 After suffering another episode with a loud ringing in her ears and seeing the house revert to its ravaged state, she takes a magic yellow powder from the medicine cabinet. Once she’s mixed it with water and drunk it, she seems to calm down. If that’s the case, more powder to her.

[N.B. After much debate and theorising, I’m confident when stating that the yellow powder represents monoatomic gold (or Ormus), a snake oil type cure-all. Please see screenshot at the bottom of this post for the best close-up of the label I was able to take.]

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Taking a powder

0:21:04 The next morning, while she’s preparing breakfast, the doorbell sounds. It’s the man’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer as ‘Woman’ / Eve). The instant she walks into the house, a smoke alarm goes off in the kitchen and mother burns herself taking the hot pan. Would seem as though Michelle Pfeiffer is still hot.

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Eve of destruction

0:22:42 For the second time since her arrival, the man and the woman engage in prolonged PDA, which makes mother uncomfortable but He seems to like it. Here’s a joke I just wrote:

Adam [to Eve]: You’re the only one for me!

0:23:36 He invites the man and woman to stay as long as they like, but he doesn’t consult with his SO first. So, that’s where boyfriends get this from!

0:26:11 While she plasters the wall with bile-yellow paste, the woman arrives bearing two glasses of homemade lemonade.  The woman asks her if she has any painkillers, but she says she doesn’t, even after the woman insists. It’s worth noting here that mother is probably telling he truth, in that she has no artificial medicine, only her ‘natural’ powders. Then it turns out the lemonade the woman made is more spiked than Dracula at a punji stick shish kebab.

0:26:18

Woman: I can’t believe you did all this work yourself.
She: Why not?
Woman: It’s a lot.
She: Well, we spend all our time here. I want to make a paradise.

From the Eagles’ song ‘The Last Resort’, “You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye.”

0:28:28 The woman realises that, despite what He said, the couple don’t seem to be able to have children. This subject is touchy for her, probably because He isn’t.

0:28:44

Is that where He works!?

Woman, upon looking up and seeing His office

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Good works!

When mother physically prevents the woman from mounting the stairs, the woman repeats her early sentence, ” Wow, you really do love him,” and then adds.

God help you.

As if that’s ever going to happen. 😂😂😂

[N.B. It’s interesting to note that He enters laughing while the woman says this line, so it’s not just my emoji’s that see the irony in the ‘God help you’.]

0:31:22 In the cellar to do the laundry (“Wow, guess you haven’t quite got to this part yet,” the woman says, because mother doesn’t like to bring herself down to this level), the conversation becomes more carnal.

Woman: Look at you! If he’s not all over you, it’s either because of his age or…
She: Or what?

But the woman never explains what the other option is. To punish her, mother purposefully loses the woman’s knickers behind the dryer, just as she did the man’s lighter. There’s no way left for the couple to be hot now.

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Banana coloured, because you peel them off

0:31:52 The woman left her kitchen a mess after making the lemonade. It’s not that mother doesn’t like other people, it’s just that they all suck.

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If life gives you lemons, make lemonade in someone else’s house

0:32:57 While investigating a strange, whispering noise, she walks into the bathroom and finds what appears to be a human heart in the bowl. You know you had to go when you’ve shat your heart out.

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How many of my relationships end

[N.B. If anyone has any ideas as to what and why this is, I’d love to hear them in the comments!]

0:33:18 In the man’s sack, she finds a photo of Him, which is all the more interesting as it proves the man knew who He was before arriving, despite having said the contrary.  Regardless, the man is not playing with a full deck.

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God is carded

[N.B. The type of photo the man carries is known as a Holy Card or Prayer Card, and historically Christians carry these around to remind them about God and such.]

0:33:52 The woman walks the the upper office, even though she was expressly told not to. She’s tempted by the heart crystal, so perhaps that whispering mother heard earlier was the hiss of the snake tempting the woman? The only way the woman could be in more temptation would be if she sang with five guys on Motown.

0:35:10

Him: He’s dying. He wanted to meet me before he’s gone.

The human condition is terminal.

0:35:42 A loud crash comes from His God cave. The man and woman have disobeyed him and taken the crystal he expressly forbade them from touching. Then they dropped and smashed it into thousands of pieces, breaking his heart.

mother 24 SC 'You broke my heart' 123wtf Saint Pauly
“You broke my heart!”

[N.B. This scene represents The Fall in Genesis, when Eve eats the forbidden fruit.]

0:36:21

Her [to the man and the woman]: I think it’s best if you leave.

Interesting that in Aronofsky’s version, it’s Mother Nature who kicks them out of the Garden, and not God.

0:37:12

mother 25 SC Not Mother Nature but Human Nature 123wtf Saint Pauly
Not Mother Nature, but Human Nature

0:37:28 After accidentally seeing them in bed, she witnesses the house reverting back to its burned state once again and runs to the medicine cabinet for another dose of her gold dust. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but Mother Nature is all about the gold.

0:38:34 In a fit of anger, He knocks the doorknob off the door to his study and it falls to the first storey where it makes a dent in the wooden floor. This is certainly largely symbolic (so much so it appears on the poster), but I’m as lost as a Apple user with IOS maps.

[N.B. Since publication, Cassandra (another of my astute readers) has pointed out that the doorknob might very well represent evil / the devil / the archangel. God throws him out of the garden and down to earth, where he makes a huge impact. Then, he becomes the tool for the first homicide. I tend to think she’s got something here. What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section!]

0:39:21 He boards up the door to his office and announces that “They will never get in here again!” No more knocking on Heaven’s door for them.

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Heaven forbids

[N.B. In the Bible Genesis 3:22, 23 states, “‘He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’ So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden…”]

0:40:06 She tries to banish them from the house but the man is having a coughing fit off-screen and the woman is in her bra, so they’re bad house guests of Biblical proportions.

0:40:36 A young man invites himself into the house (Brian Gleeson as Younger Brother / Abel). He says “Nice view,” while ogling her ass and I wonder if he can really do that or if he’s not Abel.

0:40:54 Now Oldest Son (Cain) arrives and it’s Domhnall Gleeson, because there’s a law that says he has to be in every film made this decade.

[N.B. Interesting side note: In addition to playing brothers in the film, Brian and Domhnall Gleeson are brothers in real life.]

0:41:42 The sons bicker over the man’s will (which says his inheritance will go into a trust controlled by the woman), while He watches over them and doesn’t get involved. That’s so God.

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God looks down on everyone

0:43:23 The boys begin a physical fight and the oldest son takes the doorknob [see 38:34] and uses it to open his younger bother’s skull.

[N.B. If the doorknob represents evil (see 38:34), then logic would dictate it be used in the first crime, which is a murder, no less!]

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Now Abel is open minded

0:43:38

Younger brother [to her]: It’s not my fault. They never really loved me. They always loved him more. They were leaving me behind. Just tell me you understand. Tell me you understand! You have to understand.

She doesn’t strike me as very understanding.

0:43:54 The man grabs his oldest son and throws him into a wall, creating a gash on his forehead and causing him to open up.

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When your father splits more than hairs

[N.B. This is a reference to Genesis 4:15 where God places a mark on Cain.]

0:44:14 The older brother stumbles out of the back door because the best thing he can get right now is away.

[N.B. This is in reference to Genesis 4:12, where God condemns Cain to be a restless wanderer.]

0:44:38 She implores Him not to leave her alone, but he ignores her pleading and abandons her to accompany the family. If God has his priorities so out of whack, then I guess I’m off the hook for a lot of things.

[N.B. Because I have no secrets from you, I’ll point out here that just beyond the stretch of grass seen in the screenshot lies and charred and still smoking burn area.]

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The home front

0:45:24 Noticing all of the bloody doorknobs in the house, I can’t help but infer they are highly symbolic. Do they symbolise the devil, or is the meaning like the doorknobs themselves: out of my reach?

mother 31 collage Bloody knobs 123wtf Saint Pauly
There are more bloody knobs here than an orgy of politicians

0:45:47

mother 32 SC Deader than Utah on a Tuesday night 123wtf Saint Pauly
Deader than Utah on a Tuesday night

[N.B. If one were desperate to find the Biblical plagues in mother!, one could always claim this was symbolic of the fourth plague, that of flies.]

0:45:52 You can’t swing a dead son in here without hitting a symbolic doorknob.

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Still no-life

[N.B. The stain the blood makes on the floorboards will become a living part of the house, meaning the world’s first murder has permanently made its mark on the earth. Throughout the film, the blood in the wooden floor represents the damage man does to the planet.]

0:47:11 She places her forehead against the tile of the bathroom wall and once again is given a vision of the house’s / earth’s heart, which has darkened since we first saw it at 05:47.

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The matter of the heart (pt. 2)

0:49:12 While poking at the stained floorboards,  blood runs through the hole she makes in the floor and drips into the cellar. When she goes down to investigate, a blood filled light bulb explodes (in what some might be tempted to remark is akin the 7th biblical plague–that of fiery hail) and the splatter reveals a soft, door-shaped patch of cement. When she digs at that with a tool, the stone crumbles to reveal a metal door, behind which sits a giant furnace and…a toad.

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When the bat out of hell is a frog

[N.B. The frog almost certainly represents the 2nd biblical plague, that of frogs.]

0:50:34 After hearing a noise, she walks back upstairs to find broken glass on the floor near an open door and the image of Him ripped to pieces…like Johnny in The Room.

The Room 19 GIF What a pain 123WTF Saint Pauly
“It’s tearing me apart!”

[N.B. This act demonstrates that the oldest son / Cain has decided to stop worshipping Him. Note that, not only has the image been shredded, it’s also been defaced. Cain has exed out the eyes, and drawn in a devil’s beard and horns.]

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He’s torn

0:51:02 The oldest son sneaks up behind her.

They left you all alone? You do understand.

What, that she controls the telly remote now?

[N.B. This is in reference to 43:38, where, after he commits the murder, the oldest son pleads with her to ‘understand’. What he needs her to understand is what it feels like to be relegated to second place, to be forgotten, to be abandoned by those you love the most. The oldest son’s parents favour his younger brother, and here she realises that He has put her at the bottom of his list of concerns.]

0:53:18 He returns from the hospital and tells her that the younger brother died while He was holding his hand. Then He goes up to take a shower while she takes a minute to fix the bloody gash in the floorboards. She repairs the hole by laying a rug over it, meaning she and I have the same D.I.Y. skills.

0:54:16 She is sleeping soundly with Him until some noise downstairs awakens her. She peers over the second floor railing to see the woman and her entourage filing into the house for an impromptu wake. This, then, will be her mourning wake up call.

mother 37 SC There's no place like home, her home 123wtf Saint Pauly
There’s no place like home, her home

0:55:04 The woman graciously welcomes His condolences on the loss, yet the woman snubs mother when she offers the same. People treat Him a lot better than they treat her…no doubt due to their own nature.

0:55:18 His speech during the wake:

Well, how can one begin to understand your pain? The sacrifice of the parent. All those years of worry. Years in days, days in hours, hours in seconds. But in each second, an infinite amount of love. And now, suddenly, it seems there is nothing to love, just a vast and silent darkness. But fear not. From deep inside it there’s a voice crying out to be heard…loud and strong. Just listen. [The mourners sob.] Do you hear that? Do you hear that? That is the sound of life. That is the sound of humanity. That is your son’s voice. His cry of love. His love for you.

Sounds more like people watching Schindler’s List.

0:59:18 More people begin streaming into the house and as the population grows, she becomes more and more nervous. She asks a guest not to sit on the sink as it hasn’t been braced yet, but really she should be bracing herself.

mother 38 SC That sinking feeling 123wtf Saint Pauly
That sinking feeling

1:00:32

The woman [to mother]: Why don’t you at least put on something decent!?

Some might say the low cut tee with no bra is a decent look for her…

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The valley of the shadow of breasts

1:01:16 She follows a couple who have mounted the stairs to the master bedroom / heaven and tells them they aren’t allowed to be in there. Heaven is so popular, people are dying to get in.

mother 40 SC She wants him in there 123wtf Saint Pauly
She wants him in there

[N.B. This scene is a reference the story of Babel (Genesis 11: 1-9), in which the peoples of the world try to build a tower tall enough to reach heaven, so God gives them all different languages so they cannot understand each other and disperses them throughout the world so they cannot plan together. This chapter of the Bible explains the origin of different races, which is why the trespassing couple is mixed race.]

1:02:21 For those keeping track, she has another shot of the golden liquid at this point. She’s thirsty for power.

1:03:18 Now some of the house guests are actually painting the house during the party! They should leave and paint the the town instead, and use red.

[N.B. Whilst this scene sticks out a bit as regards the flow of the film, it’s meant to show that people have decided to improve on the earth themselves, ignoring mother nature’s original intentions. It’s the first salvo in the war between people and nature.]

1:03:44

All these people!

This is her protest to Him as the party begins to spiral out of control. At first they were only crashing the party, now they’re crashing everything else.

[N.B. This scene is also the crux of the film, as it perfectly encapsulates the major conflict of the the story. He / God is enjoying the attention and admiration of his guests, and wants to have as many people as possible to shower affection on him. Unfortunately, his desire for praise blinds him to the fact that the more people who arrive, the more destruction there is in his house (the earth), and the more dangerous it is for his wife (nature). Sadly, he’s so eager for the love of others, that he’s ignoring that of his wife, which is the parallel Aronofsky is drawing here between himself / his relationships and God / nature.]

mother 41 SC The original oil spill 123wtf Saint Pauly
The original oil spill

1:04:44 While a man aggressively hits on her (and calls her an ‘arrogant cunt’ when she refuses his advances), another couple insists on sitting on the edge of the sink, despite her repeated requests for them not to. The world is becoming a toilet populated by assholes and she’s getting tired of their shite.

mother 42 GIF I haven't seen such a sink disaster since Titanic 123wtf Saint Pauly
I haven’t seen such a sink disaster since Titanic
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Me, when I’m having a party and someone turns off my metal

[N.B. This scene represents the flood, when God kills off everyone (the party guests) on the planet (leaving the house) with a flood (after the pipe explodes because of their puerility). At 1:05:21, in the background, one guest can be heard exclaiming, “We’re being punished.” It’s even raining when she evicts them.]

1:07:27 Once they’re alone in the house again, they fall into a dispute.

Him: You know what? Life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.
Her: You’re right. Mine certainly didn’t.
Him: Excuse me?
Her: You talk about wanting kids, but you can’t even fuck me.

God might be impotent, but the Holy Ghost comes without warning.

1:08:43 The next morning, after making passionate love all night, she wakes up and instinctively knows she’s pregnant. Or maybe she just remembers the condom broke.

mother 44 SC Filled with more than the Holy Ghost 123wtf Saint Pauly
Filled with more than the Holy Ghost

1:10:07 Immediately after learning she’s pregnant, He leaps out of bed, naked, and sits down to write. The crack of dawn isn’t the only crack we see.

[N.B. The book he’s inspired to write is the New Testament. After writing an earlier success (the Old Testament), he loses inspiration until the imminent birth of his son inspires him.]

1:10:34 Foreshadowing

mother 45 WTFDTS I'll just get started on the Apocalypse 123wtf Saint Pauly
Me at the club, about to flirt with someone

1:11:11 She pours her powder into the toilet. Now that she’s pregnant and He is writing again, she feels sure she will no longer experience the stress, insecurity and loneliness that led to her to take the powder in the first place. Sadly, she doesn’t realise that ‘stress, insecurity, and loneliness’ is the job description for motherhood.

1:11:46 In a moment of existential bliss, where she is alone in the house with her husband and impending child, she stares down at where there was once a gaping, bloody hole in the floor [see 49:12].  She no longer sees the human stain, but something that reminds me of myself in the mornings: fresh wood.

1:12:57 At the precise moment she feels her baby move for the first time, she finds Him standing in the doorway, trembling. He’s finished his poem, and maybe he’s a little cold so he should put on some shoes.

mother 46 SC God receives his copy of this review 123wtf Saint Pauly
God receives his copy of this review

1:13:42 She reads the poem and we are shown the pictures (because Aronosfsky doesn’t think we’re intelligent enough to read).

  1. In the beginning, he was alone and lived in a dump
mother 47 cinematography God forgot to turn off the coffee pot 123wtf Saint Pauly
Forgot to turn off the coffee pot when he left for work

2. She came along and cleaned things up for him

mother 48 cinematography Google scorched earth 123wtf Saint Pauly
Google scorched earth

The End

[N.B. The poem is the story of this film. Just as mother! begins with the destruction of his previous house and her rebuilding his world, so does His epic poem. This parallel is another point in my argument that, in addition to Aronofsky retelling the Bible, he’s also establishing a connection between himself as a creator and the poet in the film, who is also a creator symbolising God, the creator. Thus, in a roundabout way, Aronofsky is drawing an indirect comparison between himself and God. Lest anyone mistakenly believe this god complex is a one-way ego trip, it seems obvious that Aronosfsky is basing this metaphor not on God’s strengths, but flaws (selfishness, love of power, egotism, neediness…).]

1:14:52 After reading the poem and realising how wonderful it is, she asks Him the question…

Her: Am I going to lose you?

1:16:36 Literally 2 seconds later the telephone rings. It’s his publisher and she wants him to talk to the press. He claims he’d rather not, but discussing it, he doesn’t notice that she has walked away, knowing more truth than he could write in his lifetime. She goes to the baby’s room and sees the blood stain has returned to the carpet, even if the hole in the floor is still absent. Maybe it’s just that the carpet bleeds regularly – Period.

1:20:18 Before they can sit down to a dinner celebrating the success of His poem (all of the copies sold in one day), fans show up on their doorstep, and He’d rather bask in the glow of their admiration than that of the candles on her table.

Zealot [Stephen McHattie]: We’ve all travelled a great distance and I fell that these words–I feel that they were written…for me.
Him: Of course, they were.

I feel the same way whenever I read a drinks menu.

1:21:08 Because so many guests are coming, the bloody gash in the floorboards is back. Sadly, she’s having a lot of difficulty with the hole thing.

mother 49 SC Floored 123wtf Saint Pauly
Floored

1:21:36

mother 50 SC 'I'm more popular than Jesus' 123wtf Saint Pauly
“I’m more popular than Jesus!”

[N.B. You’ll note that ‘zealot’ is now standing in a position of privilege compared to the other followers.]

1:21:46

They love it. They understand all of it, but if affects everyone in a different way.

Sounds like puberty…

[N.B. In fact, he’s talking about all of the different interpretations of the New Testament and all of the sects (Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, Methodists, Mega Church…) that have developed from the same text.]

1:23:18 A mother and her young son enter the house looking for the toilets, then, suddenly, there’s a line at the toilets and people taking selfies of the fiery hole while others set up camp in the living room or steal their food. After that the herald (Kristen Wiig) arrives and all heaven breaks loose.

mother 51 SC Don't Wiig out 123wtf Saint Pauly
“Don’t Wiig out!”

1:25:54 At this point, the looting for souvenirs start, and can you blame them? It is a steal, after all.

1:26:16

Get out! Stop, all of you! This doesn’t belong to you!

Things you say when you’re losing your virginity.

[N.B. In this scene, Aronosfky shows us what humans are doing to the earth. We are robbing it of its resources for our own, selfish reasons, not caring what we do to mother nature in the process.]

1:26:50 The poet has some ink on his thumb that he accidentally smears on one of his admirer’s face. This will become a symbol for the religious write.

mother 52 SC Highbrow 123wtf Saint Pauly
Because his poetry is highbrow

[N.B. This ritual comes from the Catholic rite of Ash Wednesday, where a priest draws the image of a cross on a follower’s forehead using ashes from the burned palms of the previous year’s Palm Sunday.]

1:27:25 The zealot has taken the framed original draft of the poem and is using it as a sort of totem for a procession in the living room. Yes, I-con.

1:28:12 The condition of the heart in the house (i.e. the health of the planet) is deteriorating rapidly. At this rate, the home will soon be as heartless as its guests.

mother 53 collage The matter of the heart pt 3 123wtf Saint Pauly
The matter of the heart (pt. 3)

1:28:55 The zealot has now become a priest and is instructing the followers on how to perform rituals as he blesses them with the ink smear over the left eye. He’s got that rite.

mother 54 SC Holy Crap 123wtf Saint Pauly
Holy Crap

1:31:48 In the midst of a riot that will devolve into a literal religious war, she starts her labour and, when pushed to the ground, finds the man’s lighter she hid so long ago. That’s one way to see the light.

mother 55 SC A burning sensation 123wtf Saint Pauly
A burning sensation

[N.B. The lighter is here to remind us that man, not God, is what led us to this mess in the first place.]

1:32:01 In an interesting development, women are kept in a makeshift jail. My guess would be this represents male dominance throughout history, though it could be an Aronofsky remake of Caged Heat.

mother 56 SC Want women's liberation 123wtf Saint Pauly
Interested in Women’s Liberation

1:33:38 The herald is killing critics and I’d wager Aronofsky would like to do the same.

mother 57 GIF Poorly executed 123wtf Saint Pauly
Poorly executed

[N.B. In a continued bout of symbolism, the Poet rescues her and she asks twice to leave the house and go somewhere safe, but he refuses and insist that they mount the stairs. More proof that mother is not allowed to leave the premises.]

1:37:26 As she begins to deliver the baby amongst the chaos, He tears down the boards blocking the entrance to his writing room and ushers her inside. Symbolically, this makes sense, as it’s the room where he creates, and now he’s creating his Son. Let’s hope the critics are kinder with with the baby than they were with the mother!.

mother 57 SC Me after Indian food 123wtf Saint Pauly
Me after eating at the local Indian place

1:40:04

They brought us gifts.

After the birth of their son, He reaches out of the door to the room to recover some fruit and water left there by some not so wise men.

mother 58 SC The milky way 123wtf Saint Pauly
He likes the milky way

1:41:42

Him: More gifts. Look. Look. For you. Clean clothes.
Her: Are they leaving?
Him: What? No, they…they just want to see him.
Her: No. Make them go.
Him: I can’t. I can’t.
Her: Yes, you can. They adore you! They would listen to you. Why won’t you?
Him: I don’t want them to go!

Another instance of Him choosing his followers over her. Basically, God is a uni boy who’d rather party with his mates than stay at home with his girl.

1:43:06 The standoff begins when she refuses to let him hold the baby because she knows how everything he touches dies. Still, the boy is just a baby, so it would be a small sacrifice.

mother 59 SC Baby, please don't go 123wtf Saint Pauly
Baby, please don’t go!

1:45:54 She nods off and He takes the baby outside to the adoring crowd. The people love the child to death, or at least they will.

1:46:24 He gives the baby to the crowd and when the tyke pees on them, the scream ‘Alleluia!’ Either this represents baptism or there are more golden showers in the Bible that I knew of.

mother 60 SC Hands on experience 123wtf Saint Pauly
Hands on experience

1:46:34 The crowd quiets when they hear a loud crunching sound you don’t want to hear come from a baby.

1:46:54 The zealot explains that the baby is not dead because he will always be alive as long as people mourn him. This is a direct reference to the poet’s toast during the younger brother’s wake at 55:18 and it’s also a reference to the resurrection. It’s also as comforting as a steel wool blanket.

mother 61 SC Let us prey 123wtf Saint Pauly
Let us prey

1:47:12 Pushing past the zealot, she finds the baby has been torn apart on a makeshift altar and devoured. Some people really eat religion up.

mother 62 SC Leftovers 123wtf Saint Pauly
Leftovers

[N.B. This is a reference to the Holy Communion, where Jesus instructed his followers at the Last Supper to eat his body and drink his blood.]

1:48:01 She takes a shard of glass and begins attacking those partaking of her child, until the zealot knocks her out with a blow to head from the doorknob. He probably just wants her to open up, one way or another.

1:48:08 The followers tear her clothes off and beat her mercilessly until He comes to her rescue.

Him: We can’t let him die for nothing. We can’t. Maybe what happened could change everything. Everyone.
Her: What are you talking about?
Him: We — you and I — have to find a way to forgive them.

Well, OK, maybe ‘comes to her rescue’ isn’t the right terminology.

1:49:38

Him: Please, have faith in me.

That’s so God.

1:50:04 She sees the heart inside the house go all but black. These heart attacks are killing her.

mother 63 collage The matter of the heart pt 4 123wtf Saint Pauly
The matter of the heart pt 4

1:51:19 She grabs the lighter from under a heating grate and runs into the basement, where she opens up the large fuel tank and sparks the flame.

Him: I love you.
Her: You never loved me. You just loved how much I loved you.

This is more confirmation that mother! is autobiographical in the sense that Aronofsky sees himself as a selfish creator who craves the love of others. It also confirms that men are assholes.

mother 64 SC You're fired 123wtf Saint Pauly
You’re fired!

1:51:46 She drops the lighter and the house goes up in flames like a 1980’s Talking Heads song.

mother 65 SC MILF Mother I'd Like To Film 123wtf Saint Pauly
MILF: Mother I’d Like to Film
mother 66 GIF Housewarming 123wtf Saint Pauly
A housewarming
mother 67 collage Two mothers getting baked 123wtf Saint Pauly
Two mothers getting baked

[N.B. Note the similarity between this shot and the shot of the first mother being burnt, which started off this post.]

1:52:34

Her: What are you?
Him: Me? I am I.

So, he’s Popeye?

mother 68 popeye 123wtf Saint Pauly

[N.B. In fact, the quotation is a reference to a famous Bible quote “I am that I am“, which is God stating the obvious when Moses asks him what his name is. God is the smartest ass.]

1:53:18 He carries her burnt body to what he refers to as “the beginning” (A.K.A. the desk in the charred remains of his office, where he created).

Him: It won’t hurt much longer.
Her: What hurts me the most is that I wasn’t enough.
Him: It’s not your fault. Nothing is ever enough. I couldn’t create if it was. And I have to. That’s what I do.

Welcome to Darren Aronofsky’s break up speech.

1:53:51

Him: I need one last thing.
Her: I have nothing left to give.
Him: Your love. [He places his hands on her chest.] It’s still there, isn’t it?
Her [nodding]: Go ahead, take it.

Proof that God makes people heartless.

mother 68 GIF On the 8th day God goofed around by turning people into raisins 123wtf Saint Pauly
On the 8th day God goofed around by turning people into raisins

1:54:54 Suddenly, all warmth drains from the house and he holds her still beating heart. Perhaps he does have the whole world in his hands.

mother 69 SC Have a heart 123wtf Saint Pauly
Have a heart

1:55:48 He peels away the coal around her heart to reveal a diamond inside. Laughing, he places this diamond on a stand and the house is restored anew.  I, too, would laugh like an idiot if I didn’t have to clean up after a party like that.

mother 70 SC Some women are so transparent 123wtf Saint Pauly
Some women are so transparent

1:56:18 The end of the film (beginning with the placing of the crystal heart on a base [see 1:55:48]) is an exact copy of the beginning. The crystal, the renovated house, and a woman waking up in a bed without Him, wondering where he’s gone. [The new woman is credited as “maiden”, and is French-Canadian actress Laurence Leboeuf, who I adored in 2015’s Turbo Kid.] God, it would seem, has a way with women, which would explain why they call out his names in the throes of rapture.

mother 71 SC Shequel 123wtf Saint Pauly
Shequel
mother 72 collage Dooplegang-her 123wtf Saint Pauly
Dopplegang-her

The song playing during the credits is Patti Smith’s version of the “The End of the World”, an oldie popularised by Skeeter Davis. That’s the end of my Revelations!

Roll credits

Tally Ho’

  • WTF!?’s: 0 mothers
  • When to Follow: Best watched on a weekend evening when you’re all alone and there’s no one around to ruin it for you by asking stupid questions or force feeding you unsolicited opinions.
  • Where’s This Found: I’m a confirmed Aronofsky fan, and went into mother! in that frame of mind. I came out of her in a completely different frame of mind, namely confused and impressed. After a little research, I went back to mother! and was able to unabashedly appreciate the complexity of the spectacle. In an era where everything is sequel or remake and no one’s willing to take a chance and make an intelligent film, mother! comes along and knocks us on our ass. She is brave, daring, and wholly beautiful. Out of a possible 10, I have 9 F’s to give.

  • What To Feedback:

All GIFs used in this review were created with the Imgflip online meme generator

In addition to the assistance provided by dozens of readers who shared their insights in comments below, I used the following online sources as research tools: Collider, Vanity Fair, The Telegraph U.K., and Time.

Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos

Left over photos

mother 75 poster explnation 123wtf Saint Pauly
(Click on image for full size)

A couple of notes about the secrets hidden in the film’s poster… Apart from the obvious reference to her literally giving her heart to Him even though it kills her, I’ve circled in yellow the different clues Aronofsky leaves us regarding the symbolism in mother!.

  • Beginning with the uppermost image on the right, we see a crystal heart (representing love) sitting in a bloom
  • Not far beneath it is a frog (representing the Biblical plagues God forced upon the earth to punish men)
  • On the opposite side of the poster, at the same height, is His holy card (representing organised religion)
  • In the flower beneath that is the doorknob (representing evil)
  • On the right hand side of the poster, at the bottom is the lighter (representing Knowledge of Good & Evil)

The above are the best shots I was able to come up with for the yellow powders. On the top line, I can make out ‘—able Remedy’, the I096 (which may or may not refer to this drug), then nothing of the name except ‘yellow’, then ‘(illegible) by’ before what seems to be the pharmacist’s address in ‘Buffalo, NY’. Does anyone have anything to add?

Prints suitable for reposting!

WTF!? did they say?

mother 77 WTFDTS Please have faith in me 123wtf Saint Pauly

mother 78 WTFDTS I'll get started on the apocalypse 123wtf Saint Pauly

WTF!? do you meme?

mother 79 meme Urine for a treat 123wtf Saint Pauly

mother 80 meme If life gives you lemons 123wtf Saint Pauly

mother 81 meme Holy Crap 123wtf Saint Pauly

What to Follow Up

WTF Review

killing-of-a-sacred-deer-40-poster-2-watch-the-film-123wtf-saint-pauly
WTF!? review of another mother of a film
WTF review of a film which failed what mother! achieved
WTF review of another Jennifer Lawrence project
WTF review of an early Jennifer Lawrence film

Bar None Review

Oh, Al! Bar None review of Days of Future Past

366 Weird Movies

366 Weird Movies takes a look at mother!

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*Notes

This addendum is simply a crib sheet to the film.

Established symbolism

The General Idea: The film is about the Bible, especially Genesis and bits of the New Testament. Him (Javier Bardem) plays the poet/creator, and Jennifer Lawrence plays Mother, meaning Mother Nature.

The Initial Guests: Man (Ed Harris) represents Adam and Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) represents Eve. They arrive in the Garden but partake of the forbidden fruit (by breaking the crystal) and so are thrown out of the house. Before they can be exiled, however, the Oldest Son (Domhnall Gleeson) kills his Younger Brother (Brian Gleeson) in a retelling of the tale in Genesis when Cain kills his younger brother Abel.

The Staircase: The massive, spiral staircase in the house represents the border between Heaven (the upper rooms where, later, the guests are discouraged from going) and earth (the rooms in the bottom where the people live). One reader, likka, has mentioned in the comments that it is also a symbol of the Tower of Babel, which people wanted to create in order to reach Heaven, but then God dispersed them to the four corners of the world (which would explain the Poet’s separating people of different origins). [Heartfelt thanks to Simon, likka and John in the comments who’ve developed this idea.]

The Bloody Floorboard: The earth is a living being, not an object. When she’s hurt, she bleeds. This open wound gets worse, the more people are present in the house / on earth.

The Sink: The sink that collapses represents the flood. Humans are mucking about and not doing as they’re told, so a flood is sent to clear them all out of the earth.

The Basement: The hidden room in the basement represents the entrance to Hell.

The Workshop: [Shout-out to Lucas Araujo, who brought this up in the comments]: The room between the ground floor (Earth) and the bedroom (Heaven) could possibly represent the Garden of Eden, especially when considering He evicts Adam and Eve from here and boards up the room when the couple disobey his orders and break the heart he forbid them from touching.

The Poem: After the Flood has cleared everyone away, the Creator makes a new creation which is idolized by the world. Unfortunately, the creation is so beautiful that everyone comes to the house and destroy it by their sheer number, greed and selfishness. This new creation? Simon (in the comments) realises this is the New Testament! The New Testament of the Bible caused people to arrive en masse to the Church on Earth, and then to treat the planet badly, using their love of God as an excuse.

The Baby: The Baby is Jesus, and is sacrificed by the adoring masses and then eaten in a parallel to the Communion, where Christians eat the body and drink the blood of Christ.

Peeing Jesus: [Brought up by Squilliams in the comments] The image of Jesus peeing all over the people that pass him around is meant to symbolise baptism, I’m convinced.

The Yellow Powder / Liquid: [Shout out to Adrian in the Comments Section who shared this with us.] The gold powder is something called ‘monoatomic gold‘, an element found in nature that purports to perform miracles. It’s currently sold online by disreputable sites as a cure-all, much like elixirs at the turn of the 19th century. Just read the claims of one site:

Monatomic Gold helps with physical and mental energy.  It is very calming and balancing, strengthens the blood and heart, reduces infection, and boosts the immune system. It’s great for the skin and hair and has anti-aging properties. It invites from within you a truer form of you, a natural youth that you’ll see and feel.

The placebo mentioned above sells for $84 per ounce despite doctors’ research stating it has the same health benefits of table salt. Still, in olden times, these types of spurious vitamins were all the rage.

The reason she stops taking the powder when her son is born is that she feels she no longer needs artificial cures as being a mother will heal her naturally.

The Crystal: The crystal represents Love. In the final sequence, the Poet desperately asks if she’s still in love with him and she begrudgingly admits that she does. Then he asks her for one more thing before she goes and she says she only has one thing left to give. Following that, he reaches into her chest and pulls the crystal from where her heart would be. [A shout out to Simon, who explained this in the comments!]

The Lighter: [Shout out to Khalid who mentioned this in the comments section.] The lighter probably represents knowledge. In many cultures, Gods give fire to humans as a power, but a double-edged power because it has the power to destroy as well as to help. The lighter is Man’s way of defying the Poet and Mother and to show he has some god-like powers (the power of fire), as well. Which is directly linked to…

The symbol on the lighter: It has been misidentified as a Pisces symbol, but I think the article at Popsugar successfully identifies it as a Wendehorn. The symbol represents life’s great opposites (man / woman, fire / ice, night / day, life / death…), which demonstrate that Man has this ability to tell the difference between right and wrong, a direct quote from the Bible in which God tells Adam not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Man has awaken, and is now aware of both sides of life.

Why Adam is a doctor: Adam is an orthopaedic doctor, which is mentioned too many times for it to be random. Orthopaedics, in fact, is the study of bones and joints, so would be the speciality required to treat someone with a…damaged rib. [A hearty ‘thank you’ to Simon, who explained this in the comments!]

Open questions

Here are some questions that I and other readers have which are still considered to be unanswered. Will you be the one to solve the mysteries of the womb?

Adam’s sickness: A dear friend of mine recently asked at a dinner party, “Saint Pauly, Adam is constantly sick and coughing in the film. What The Fuck is up with that?” Good question! I’d completely forgotten how important it is to the first act. Would any of you have an idea as to what the first human might be ill with? I could offer that it’s to symbolize he is mortal, thus is fatally ill with the human condition, though this feels a bit vague. Any better ideas?

Earth’s exile: Jennifer Lawrence’s character cannot leave the house. If Mother Earth is Eden / the planet, this would be logical, but then begs the question where does the Poet / God go when he walks around? And from whence come all of the other people / fans?

What was the thing in the toilet? The day after Adam is sick in the toilet, She notices there’s a beast which resembles a heart which is clogging the bowl. She prods at it with the plunger, it screeches and then emits an inky substance before disappearing. Does anyone have a clue as to what this could mean?

The Ending

[What follows is my personal interpretation] I think that Darren Aronofsky strays from his initial outline in the third act. Rather than continuing to focus on the Biblical aspect of the film, he opens it up to include aspects of his own, personal story in the movie.

Aronofsky sees himself as God, in a sense and, as he’s an atheist, this doesn’t trouble him all that much. After all, God and film directors are both creators who are looking to please the masses. Aronofsky realizes here that he’s drawn to the adoration of fans, to the point where he unwittingly lets them distract him from his personal life. Like the Poet in the film, he finds it difficult to turn away admirers, even when they are invading his privacy.

That adoration can be more important to a creator than the love of a partner. After all, what is the logical outcome when presented with a choice between the love of one or the love of many? For someone who craves love and attention, that choice is an easy one.

When the creator turns his back on the person who loves him the most, she then destroys the relationship between them. She’s the one who demolishes the house, not the others. That she leaves saddens him, but also prepares the way for a new relationship where he’ll continue to make the same mistakes. My personal take on the ending of the film, then, is that it’s autobiographical. Aronofsky recognises his own need for attention and admiration can interfere with his personal relationships, going so far as causing some of them to end. Yet he doesn’t learn from this, because when one relationship ends, he simply moves on to the next.

mother 74 123wtf Saint Pauly
The real end of mother!

That’s it then! What do you think of my analysis? Do you have any questions about the symbolism? Does my interpretation of the ending ring true? Please feel to leave a comment with any questions or observations of your own! I’d love to hear what you think!

Also, if you know somebody who has seen or might want to see the film, please consider sharing it on Facebook or other social media! The more of us there are, the merrier it will be when we decipher the entire movie!

 

 

145 thoughts on “mother! Explained…for Now [UPDATED]

    1. Hallo Simon!

      Actually, this makes a great deal of sense, thank you very much! He does ask her for one more thing and she says she only has one thing left to give and that’s after their discussion on love, when he questions her if she still loves him. I think you’ve solved it, mate! Thanks again for the insight, it’s much appreciated.

      WTF Simon (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

      1. Bible Verses that were not in the film, but came to mind after watching it:
        Gen. 4:10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.
        John 6:54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
        Proverbs 5:11 – And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed
        Matthew 13:49 – So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just
        Psalm 139:22 – I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
        Revelation 9: 10 – They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of Gods people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
        Here is my complete review and analysis of this masterpiece. http://www.ruthlessreviews.com/35095/mother-3/ Regards, Goat from Ruthless Reviews.

        Like

      1. Hallo there!

        Yes, well, it’s certainly not for everyone! I think there are s lot of people who are less than impressed with this one. Might I ask what it is you didn’t like enjoy it?

        Thanks for the visit and the comment!

        WTF (Watch The Film),

        Saint Pauly

        P.S. You call this the worst film you’ve ever seen in your entire life, but have you seen Left Behind?

        Like

    2. My bet is that the office is which actually represents the Eden. When they touch, and ruin, the forbidden fruit (crystal) they are expelled from the Eden, but god never expels them from Earth (though she tries to do it herself). After that god seals the Eden so no one ever enters in it again.
      So:
      Eden = Poet’s Office
      Earth = House

      Like

      1. Hallo Lucas!

        I tend to agree with you if we can conclude Eden = Poet’s Office = Heaven. As the office is elevated and off limits to humans after Adam and Eve break the crystal, it seems to me that the room represents Eden in the sense of a ‘paradise’. Thanks for your contribution!

        WTF Lucas (Watch The Film),

        Saint Pauly

        Like

    3. Two things that might help…

      Orthopaedic… deals with bodily injury… thus the rib cage injury, Adam to eve.

      Second… the “thing in the tiolet”… symbolism of the devil taunting Adam and eve, such as the snake and Apple, after seen they are being removed from Eden after they fornicatied.

      Hope this makes sense.

      Like

    4. New Testament? That’s not what I got from ‘mother!’. I think the period in the film was as depicted, the 21st Century. Now. God wants to give humanity a chance to make things better. But before he can do so, he is going to test humanity (again, not unlike with Job) to see if we deserve it.
      What he writes is not the New Testament, it’s more like a even Newer Testament. 2018 years after he sacrificed his son, he finally has a new idea; sacrifice his second son. Again, but this time, it’s his infant son. This is what the people are coming for. And it’s part of a Job-like test – did we learn anything yet from the whole Jesus thing – which is why he specifically says to Mother “We can’t let him die for nothing. We can’t. Maybe what happened could change everything. Everyone. You and I, we have to find a way to forgive them.”
      Meaning, if she – humanity – is able to forgive even this, then we’ve reached a new stage, and are ready to advance to the next level. She fails, but apparently God repeats this process so it’s more of a “when”, and not “if”, humanity will finally learn to forgive the taking of their son, as God has forgiven us for killing his son.

      Like

      1. Hallo!

        I think we agree the films isn’t set in Biblical times (though the 20th century might be more precise judging from the wardrobes and lack of technology), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t any symbolism. It’s been fairly widely agreed that mother! is a retelling of the Bible, from the story of the creation to the life and times of Jesus Christ. I see your point, that this is not a symbolic retelling of the Bible but more a continuation of it, although, if this were the case, I don’t think Aronosfsky would choose to reproduce the exact same tales (Babel, the Flood, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel…).

        I do agree with you, however, that this is cyclical. In the universe of the film, this has already happened before (with the woman who is burning in the opening sequence), and will happen again (at the very end, when a new woman wakes up in their bed).

        It’s all very intriguing, to be sure, and I’m very grateful for your thoughts and impressions!

        WTF Anonymous (Watch The Film),

        Saint Pauly

        Like

  1. I’ve only seen the film once (which is probably enough) but I think the “yellow liquid” — which is actually a yellow powder that mother pours into a glass of water from an old-looking medicine/apothecary bottle — is a treatment for her panic attacks. I’m pretty sure that every time we see her take it (in the first act) is immediately after some transgression pushes her to overcome her politeness and to express anger at the transgressor; doing so, however, unconsciously threatens her (stereotypical) ‘feminine’ identity, and this is manifest as a panic attack or, in more Freudian parlance, ‘hysteria’. When the ‘flood’ happens and mother finally rages and orders the transgressors out of her house — the house being an external manifestation of herself (hence the heart behind the walls, the blood on the floor, etc.) — she is ‘cured’ of her hysteria, sunlight enters the house and, having no further need for the yellow medicine, she flushes it down the toilet.
    I bet that in the third act she regretted that decision…
    Sorry for being so verbose, but that’s my take. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo John!

      Thank you so much for the comment. I totally agree with you regarding the fact that the yellow *powder* [thanks for pointing that out, btw 😊] is some kind of medication to treat her panic attacks. I’m just wondering where that fits if we assume she’s the personification of Mother Earth. I guess my question is, does the yellow powder represent something on an allegorical level? What does the planet earth take to calm down? Any thoughts?

      Thanks once again for your help!

      WTF John (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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      1. My understanding of the yellow powder is that its meaning is not obvious and, therefore, possibly allegorical; Aronofsky’s choice to represent the medication as an effervescent, iridescent yellow powder rather than, say, a modern-looking tablet, suggests to me that he is alluding to the historical (Victorian) period when psychiatry was in its infancy, viewed as somewhat magical, and women’s emotional issues were labelled — by a male-dominated profession — as “hysteria” rather than being understood as a reaction to powerlessness and trauma, like the trauma that mother! suffers. Unfortunately, this kind of outdated, victim-blaming thinking continues to this day, which might in part explain why some viewers/critics don’t catch the anachronism.
        However, I think your question also speaks to a larger issue: although I absolutely agree that Jennifer Lawrence’s character is meant to represent Mother Nature, I don’t see how the yellow powder fits into that interpretation. And this might be the film’s major flaw: it seems that there are many possible interpretations, some of which cannot be reconciled with each other, which makes the film messy and unclear and ultimately, perhaps, unsatisfying. From the reviews and comments I’ve read, it certainly seems to be a factor in some of the negative reactions that viewers have had.
        Anyway, those are my thoughts: I remain vebose as ever. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hallo again, John!

          Very interesting take on the antiquated nature of the powder, I really think you’re on to something there! Also, I completely agree with you as to the confounding nature of the film. While there are some allegories that are so obvious as to be blunt (Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel…), others are so ambiguous they stick out like a sore thorn in my side (to mix metaphors). Once again, I’m extremely grateful for your input. Together, we’ll figure this out!

          WTF John (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly

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            1. Hallo Carrie!

              Thank you for your input. I want to agree with you, but the question has been raised: If the yellow elixir is the sun, why does she pour out the contents of the bottle and stop using it when her son is born?

              It’s perplexing, to say the least.

              Thanks for your visit!

              WTF Carrie (Watch The Film),

              Saint Pauly

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        2. Could it be that the yellow powder represents the sun? I’ve been trying to think of what Mother Earth would need to “calm down,” (metaphorically speaking) and that would be the sun. The earth needs the sun to grow, hence the yellow powder calms Jennifer Larences character and helps her “grow.” When she flushes it down the toilet, it seems all hell breaks loose in the house in the third scene which is also filmed in the darkness- representing the absence of sunlight and growth…. thoughts?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hallo Meggiemagoozer!

            Wow, that’s a mouthful! Thank you so much for your visit and your 2 cents!

            I’ve given the idea that the powder is the sun a lot of thought, actually. It makes so much sense in so many ways, many of which you’ve outlined here. My only question would be, as you mention, when she throws away the powder. In the film, the disposal of the powder is directly linked to the birth of her baby, which would mean that, following the symbolism, she decides to get rid of the sun when Jesus comes, and I’m having a difficult time reconciling that. Any thoughts on this conundrum?

            Thanks once more for your input!

            WTF Meggiemagoozer (Watch The Film),

            Saint Pauly

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            1. Could it be a play on words in a few ways? By that, I mean that she feels that she no longer needs the sun when she has the Son. Also, in John 8:12, Jesus says that he’s the “light of the world” and the only source of spiritual light. So maybe Mother is giving up the renewing energy of physical light and growth for the hope of spiritual light, which ultimately fails her?

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Hallo Hobnobbing!

                I so grateful you’ve stopped by to share your thoughts! I was tempted to draw a parallel myself between the ‘sun’ and the ‘Son’, but would like to think Aronofsky would eschew the facile (because I know I don’t and he’s far better than I). On the other hand, I LOVE what you have to say about the light of the world. If we agree that the yellow powder is somehow representative of sunlight, then this Bible quote helps explain why she would dispose of it when she’s giving birth to the Christ. I think you’ve uncovered a key to the puzzle, mate!

                And by God, the plagues! We forgot about the plagues! Your explanations seem to be very astute. I guess I’m not as up on my plague terminology as I thought. I adore what you’ve brought to the table here. What do you think of my assertion in the article that the dead fly on the window sill (although now I’m wondering if it were a fly or a bee)? Could it representative of the 4th plague, which Christian researchers interpret to be a plague of flies? And Passover! My word, Hobnobbing, you must be a genius!

                Thank you so much for your input!

                WTF HobnobbingWithHedgehogs (Watch The Film),

                Saint Pauly

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        1. Hallo Nelson!

          I myself, along with other readers have remarked the yellow powder might be the sun. The only problem with this is, what does it mean when she throws away the powder upon her son’s birth? Jesus is born so nature doesn’t need the sun anymore? I’m not so sure…

          Thanks for the visit!

          WTF Nelson (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly

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      2. She’s tossing the yellow powder in the toilet as soon as she finds out she’s pregnant which means pregnancy cures her from those attacks. Here’s the riddle!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think the yellow powder is the sun. When she drinks it she awakens and time has passed and daylight is seen. Also, the sun brings warmth thus calming mother earth

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hallo Daniel!

          A lot of people share your point of view concerning the Sun. I also appreciate your mentioning what is happening around the time she takes the powder (and not just the instigating events). I think you’re right to pay attention to that, ans that’s something I shall be looking into when I’m able to buy a digital copy. Thanks again for your insight!

          WTF Daniel (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly

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      4. the powder is gold. look up monoatomic gold or ORMUS. the esoteric meaning of gold and its occult practices can be found there and you’ll find its very much inline with its use in the movie.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Dear Lord, Adrian, I think we’ve got a winner! I researched monoatomic gold and discovered a slew of placebo sites selling the powder/liquid for a great deal of cash and promising:

          Monatomic Gold helps with physical and mental energy.  It is very calming and balancing, strengthens the blood and heart, reduces infection, and boosts the immune system. It’s great for the skin and hair and has anti-aging properties. It invites from within you a truer form of you, a natural youth that you’ll see and feel.

          Perhaps when she gave birth, she felt she no longer needed artificial cures for her maladies, but that becoming a mother would heal her.

          Goodness! I do so appreciate your visit and sharing this with us. I think it’s safe to say this is one mystery that’s been resolved!

          WTF Adrian (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly

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      1. Hi Saint Pauly,

        Well thank you, I feel honoured! (Canadian spelling there lol.)
        I happened onto your website for the first time last night, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your humourous (Canadian spelling again) and insightful reviews. Can’t wait to read your WTF! review of mother! — consider yourself bookmarked!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Did anyone notice that the powder medicine was the same color as the powder she used to tint her plaster and make the house “happy”? Still don’t get it but wanted to throw this out there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hallo Jill!

        Thank you ever so for joining the discussion! I didn’t realise it was the same color, but that explains so much! Am I misremembering, or did she add some powder to one of the paints to get the perfect hue she was looking for? If the powder is the same colour, that’s certainly important because she wants to make the house “happy” with the same medication she’s using to make herself happy. This reinforces the concept that the powder is like a Prozac, but what of its significance?

        Could it be, and bear with me here, that the yellow powder represents sunshine somehow? If we concede sunlight is good for the earth, perhaps the sunlight coloured drug is what the earth needs to feel good?

        I’d be interested to know what everyone thinks!

        Thanks so much for your input!

        WTF Jill (Watch The Film),

        Saint Pauly

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        1. Second time around, I noticed that the inner sparkle that the powder makes in the water is THE SAME SPARKLE in the crystal. If the crystal is indeed “love” (after it turns up in mother nature’s heart at the end), then we could assume that she is drinking some sort of elixir to generate an instant inner love.

          These drinks become crystalized inside Jennifer and actually MAKE her heart. Love is in her heart. The same heart that God tears out at the end.

          And yes, I’m sure it’s the same powder that goes into the plaster when she’s decorating the wall. With that in mind, she coating the house (earth) with love, and she drinking it down, too. The walls of the house are strengthened with this love and her well-being improves, as well. The more love that is consumed or shared around, the better things become.

          Jennifer seems to have a sup when she’s being troubled, so this makes sense, too. To quote a certain John Lennon…

          “All You Need Is Love”

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Hi Jill and St. Pauly, I don’t want to crash your party, but I thought the extra colour added to the (originally grey) paint was green, not yellow. But then again, I have at least one cataract, so I could be mistaken. Cheers, John

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Hey, thanks for posting your analysis. I just wanted to point out something I had noticed…

              a very similar yellow liquid shows up when the baby pees on the crowd as it is crowd surfing. since the baby is Jesus this seemed VERY significant to me. it fits in with the love/calming/pacifying metaphor as Jesus was sent to earth to teach humans a way around their singularity nature.

              There was also the shot of a young boy peeing himself in a sort of ‘innocence lost’ fashion (he had a very embarrassed shameful look on his face) right before things really fell apart.

              So this doesn’t put us much closer to having a direct allegory for the yellow potion but I think it is useful information still.

              Also for what it’s worth, Darren in an interview with Entertainment Weekly seemed to not even know what the yellow powder was himself. He said he didn’t really like answering that question and Jennifer “probably had a better answer than [he] did”. There may not be a clean cut answer to this one but I think we are close enough with the ‘love’ metaphor.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Hallo Squilliams!

                Thank you ever so for contributing your thoughts to the discussion. I never equated the yellow liquid with people’s yellow liquid, but I can’t believe Aronofsky would put something in at random. While I’m not sure there’s a parallel between the yellow liquids, perhaps the baby Jesus peeing scene is a reference to baptism?

                I liked what you added about Aronofsky’s own thoughts. I read an interview of one of his collaborators and the response as to the meaning of the yellow powder/liquid was equally as vague. One reader did say the yellow liquid is used to form the heart crystal, which would make it the seed of love, in a sense. Perhaps the yellow liquid represents happiness?

                Great stuff! Lots to think about!

                WTF Squilliam (Watch The Film),

                Saint Pauly

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        1. Hallo Violeta!

          Thank you very much for joining our discussion! I, also, postulated that maybe the yellow liquid symbolised the sun, as it’s yellow and makes Mother Earth happy. The more I think about it, however, the surer I am that it represents happiness. Artificial happiness? I’m not sure, but it does seem to make her happier when she takes it.

          What do you think? Thanks once again for your input!

          WTF Violeta (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly

          Like

      2. Jill, Simon and John,

        After having seen mother! a second time, I can confirm that the colour of the powder she adds to the paint is indeed yellow! It’s a dark yellow, to be sure, but a yellowish tint nonetheless. I also noticed the amber hue inside the crystal, as well. There must be some sort of link among these three uses of the colour, when thinking about her super powders.

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    3. Do you remember the number on the bottle label? probably is some biblical reference… something like Matthews 18:29…I think that is an important clue…but I don’t remember…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hallo there!

        Thank you for joining the discussion! All questions are welcome and all help is appreciated. I don’t recall the label myself, though another commenter analyzes this verse in a comment below.

        He states the verse you cited reads:

        “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.”

        Certainly sounds intriguing to me! I’m fairly certain I’ll see the film again this weekend and I’ll be sure to look for this. Thanks so much for your help!

        WTF (Watch The Film),

        Saint Pauly

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    4. Hello there! I’ve watched twice the film and the yellow powder was the main reason for the second time. 🙂
      The yellow powder is not only used to give her some relieve but to paint the house. If you look at it, you can see that that bottle is the very same bottle that is used to change the color of the walls when she is painting them. I mean, what mother nature does is to make the world able to host life after the creation of the planet. In the beginning (of the film and of our planet) everything is in flames and ashes but then God sets the first living cell so life can conquer the planet Earth. So what mother nature does with that flaming world is to spread the life through it while she is on her own, or what is the same… until the human beings appear. After that, humans modify the planet (by painting the walls without being asked to do so, or destroying it in order to obtain resources), and she feels sick when that happens. But when they give her a break and she can be on her own again for a moment (Aronofsky represents this giving her a minute of intimacy in the toilet) she is able to recover herself a bit, the same way the nature does when humans stop abusing her (when we give a forest a break it start to grow again). If you remember those scenes, in one of them, a man appeares when she is getting ready to cure herself and says something like: “sorry, I was only exploring”. That could represent prospective explorations in search of resources.
      I enjoyed a lot the movie, it gives you hours of conversation.
      Have fun!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello again!

        By the way, the man who tells God that he feels the new book as if it was written for him and then is hugged by God, is the same man who afterwards is telling people “his words are your words” (or something similar), and the same man that makes a signal in people’s forehead (following the example given by God previously), and the same man that tries to keep the original poem when the publisher reclaims it, and… (and here is the point)… The same man that prevents people from entering in the poet’s room, which is the Paradise, when Mother nature is near to give birth.

        So, if he is the one in charge of controlling the acces to the Paradise, he must be St. Peter, the first Pope.

        What do you think?

        Have fun everybody!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hallo again!

          I’ve thought a lot about this man and I agree with you that he is omnipresent after he arrives at the house. I also agree that he represents Saint Peter guarding the gates of heaven, and yet I feel it’s a little more general than that. It’s my feeling he also represents John the Baptist, and probably all of the evangelicals and disciples at the same time. What do you think?

          Thanks again for your participation!

          WTF Dani (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly

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          1. Hello again!

            Yes, I agree with you, that man could be seen as the personification of the Church.

            In the other hand I think that Aronofsky offers us a mix between creationism and evolution. Why do I think this way? Well, God is not presented as responsible for the Big Bang, he is only a witness of it. But he is the one in charge to setup the jewel/first living cell/origin of life into that flaming world. And from there nature evolves spreading life through the Earth.

            What do you think?

            Have fun everybody!

            Liked by 1 person

      2. Hallo Dani!

        Welcome and thank you for your visit! I really appreciate what you have to say here regarding what is happening around her when she takes the powder. I agree that this must certainly be a clue as to the deeper meaning. When I’m able to secure a personal copy, this will be the first thing I look for!

        Thanks once again for your help!

        WTF Dani (Watch The Film),

        Saint Pauly

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  2. I watched it a second time only yesterday, and picked up on a few more things.

    When Him was tending to Adam by the toilet, we see a scar on Adam’s. Is this where Adam gave up a rib to “make” Eve? I think so.

    Also, when Eve did arrive, did you notice that Adam said “Pleased to meet you”? This is despite them being married long enough to have two sons!

    I also saw a great number of ecological references. The couple that were decorating the house were chastised by mother nature. “You don’t need to do anything, it’s fine as it is!” This, in my opinion, is mankind and it’s early attempts at changing the world in the name of improvement.

    Later, house party guests are taking things that just don’t belong to them. I saw this as the continuous rape and destruction of Earth. They were removing the very fabric of the house (our planet).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve only seen the movie once, and I know I missed some things — especially in the third act!. But I saw the scar too — I remembered it as being red, which suggested to me that it was fresh(er), and I though of the rib/Eve thing too. I also think that Him quickly put his hand over the wound, supposedly so that mother wouldn’t notice it — why would he do that? Was He not proud of His (?) creation, or worried that Mother Nature would be angry at Him? Things went by so quickly in this movie that you didn’t have time to process them, so it’s great to be able to have a discussion about them here — and a civilized, intelligent one at that!

      As for the “pleased to meet you” comment, I thought it was just the couple making a joke, because moments before they had been French- kissing.

      Another reference to religion: I believe it was after Abel was taken to hospital that mother found the photo of Him torn up — to me this suggested the rejection of God by man. Were the Plagues represented in the movie?

      And yes, lots and lots of ecological references — Aronofsky is apparently very pro-environment. I think you’re dead on about mother’s comment about the house being fine the way that it is. I don’t even remember her saying that — I can’t wait to learn what you’ll discover when you see the movie a third time! Cheers, John

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hallo John,

        Reading this comment reminded me just how upset Mother was that these uninvited guests came and stayed without her even being consulted. I like the idea of God just doing his will without thinking of the planet or the consequences of his actions.

        As for the plague, the only possible reference I’d noticed was the frog that came hopping out of the basement when she opened the wall.

        Thanks again, John!

        WTF (Watch The Film),

        Saint Pauly

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            1. Although there may have been three quick plague references there in quick succession, right? The blood is what draws her down to the basement (river of blood; first plague) where she sees the frog (second plague) and then the light breaks when she tries to turn it on, turning everything dark (plague of darkness; nine) and the outlines of the strange door are marked with blood — a reference to the Passover?

              Liked by 1 person

    2. Hallo Simon!

      Very astute observations! I, too, noticed the scar and (as John mentions) assumed it was from where God removed Adam’s rib to make Eve.

      I didn’t notice the “Pleased to meet you” but am curious about that! I can’t wait to get my hands on a digital version and analyse it more closely. It must be in reference to how they were put together as adults…

      I think you’re spot on with the other remarks! Like how Mother thinks the house is perfect the way she decorated it and how mankind is raping and pillaging the planet with their selfish actions. You’ve picked up on some interesting points, my friend!

      Thank you for your input!

      WTF Simon (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  3. Here’s a moment in the movie that struck me as important, but I have no idea what it means: when mother is at home alone after Abel is taken to hospital, she is startled by the brief reappearance of Cain. In defense, she moves back and raises a large wrench. Cain looks at her, says something like, “Oh, so you DO understand”, and turns and exists.

    WTF?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. During my viewing, I took it to mean that Cain, who represents man’s base nature, sees that mother recognises the base nature of humans and what they’re capable of, whereas the Poet is more naive and always expects the best from them.

      Or something to that effect!

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  4. This occurred to me last night. I was quite intrigued by the significance of the staircase and it’s design. After all, there was a lot of movement up and down those flights!

    The revelation came when I thought about a visual shot from the top of the house, looking down the centre – showing the twisting staircase in all its glory. Although not a spiral staircase, it did have a coil-like design.

    This Mortal Coil is another name for our planet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very clever! That interpretation holds water, imo. Definitely something to think about. There’s the scene where the Poet and her hide upstairs in order for her to give birth, as well…. Thanks so much for the contribution, Simon!

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    2. Yes, and when Cain and Abel start to argue, Him appears at the top of the stairs, scowling down at the commotion. I saw an explanation of this scene by Aronofsky himself, and he made it clear that he intended this to show that Him was God.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting that now Aronosfsky is becoming slightly more loose-lipped concerning the symbolism. Methinks he’s afraid of totally leaving his audience behind. As for the revelation, I find this one to be major! Thanks for sharing it!

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  5. Just read on imdb.com that the original title was going to be “Day 6”. I do think this would have been a better option, as the religious significance is more than hinted at.
    And as we know, it was on Day 6 that God created mankind and the animals.
    This reinforces that viewpoint that it’s an ecological film, as much as the other theories. After all, the destruction of the house (Earth) was entirely down to Man.
    Something else that occurred to me. There was a few occasions where ‘mother’
    was trying to stop people getting off with each other (at the wake and also the subsequent “book signing” where God invited everyone into His house)
    Now then, these couples were all inter-racial (one was white, one wasn’t). It’s a rather uncomfortable theory, but I wonder if Aronofsky is subliminally telling us that inter-racial relationships are wrong.
    Ultimately, mother Earth has no power to stop this happening and the world becomes an even crueler place. Am I reading too much into this? I hope someone can blow that theory out of the water because it’s not nice for a modern-day director to contemplate such a thought and put it into a film.
    Might have to go see it for a third time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Given that Aronofsky is Jewish, an artist, concerned about the environment, cast a black actor as one of the more sympathetic characters in “Requiem For A Dream”, and presented that character’s fate (i.e. imprisoned in a southern state) as a nightmare rather than just dessets, I would suspect that his politics lean to the left, and that he is not racist. There were black actors in the crowd scenes in Act III — perhaps Aranofsky just wanted to be inclusive. In any event, I thought that mother throwing the copulating couples out had to do with her anger at their lack of boundaries and invasion of her privacy. Cheers, John

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure that Aronofsky didn’t mean anything specific about the couples, as well. I’m sure he’s left leaning, as well. That said, while I know he’s not a racist, I do find it odd that only interracial couples are frowned on. I’ll look for that when I re-see the film. That having been said, I definitely walked away with the impression that Aronofsky meant to show how upset the Poet was concerning how humans abused his largesse.

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  6. Wow! Mind blown! I never realised she interrupted interracial couples from consumating. I’d really like to think this is not Aronofsky’s intention, as I admire his as a director and couldn’t continue to support him if he were a bigot. Playing the devil’s advocate, however, if he did intend this, perhaps he believes interracial couples are “unnatural”, which is why Mother Nature is the one to object. Still, I can’t believe a talented director like Aronofsky would promote that agenda in this day and age…

    I may need to see this again myself!

    Like

    1. Hi! That’s a kinda heavy accusation to make, so to offer an alternate interpretation off the top of my head, perhaps mom separating persons of different ethnicities could be an allusion to the tower of Babel, where people were gettin’ it on until being split into different nations and spread across the earth, and so, being literally prevented from hooking up by the earth itself (as in geographical distance). Hm, also the tower was built tall to reach heaven, which could fit in with the couple reaching the upper floor (the celestial realm) and desecrating it with their sexytimes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Iikka, that’s a very plausible interpretation. All this discussion just proves how good the film is, don’t you think?
        It’s SUCH a brave concept and was executed with acute aplomb. I genuinely think that the masses with eventually ‘get it’, especially when some of the more obscure stuff is explained!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hallo!

          A very plausible interpretation, indeed! And I agree, this film is so rich that it would be a shame for the general public to miss out on it just because it can be a tad obscure at times.

          WTF (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly

          Like

      2. Hallo likka!

        Thank you so much for this comment! I totally agree with you, it’s a very strong accusation and I think everyone on this thread agrees that the racist interpretation is erroneous. I shall be seeing this film again on Saturday and hope to delve deeper into the question of the separations of couples.

        What’s more, your explanation seems 100% plausible, the tower of Babel is addressed in the Old Testament and so is probably related here, as well. As the Tower of Babel was meant to reach heaven, that would mean the top of the staircase represents heaven, which seems to be brought out by the story.

        Thank you for your insights!

        WTF likka (Watch The Film),

        Saint Pauly

        Like

    2. To be honest, I interpreted this more as a Tower of Babel scene. They are in the Poet and Mother’s bedroom on the top floor (Heaven?) and are inter-racial. When she kicks them out, it’s like the way that the story says people were forced to separate into different races and languages after they try to get to Heaven on their own. They are forced to spread out over all of the world. Interesting that it’s Mother that forces this, though, and not the Poet.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. If the bottle of sparkly stuff was labelled, “Matthew 18:29”, that is fascinating. From the new testament, that excerpt reads, “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

    Speaking of bibles, I concluded this.

    Him and mother seems to be living off the proceeds from the original book that was on the shelf in His study. After all, J-Law isn’t in paid employment and He has writers block.

    Once mother is pregnant, He is inspired to write the long-awaited follow-up / revision to the original (using a quill & ink on parchment, if you remember)

    Old book & New book. Old Testament & New Testament!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My God, Simon!!! Of course! How could I have forgotten this! You’re so right, the entire first act of the film (and parts of the 2nd and 3rd) are based on how the Poet can no longer write after his brilliant first book. She wants him to, but he has writers block. And, as has been established, the first act is the creation / Genesis story, this must be a reference to the Old Testament! And then with the imminent birth of his child, he writes the New Testament! Brilliant! Thanks so much for this one, my friend. 👏👏👏

      Like

      1. Haha, you’re welcome. Like Mark Kermode said on his Film Review programme, this is a film that stays with you. In fact, the longer you leave it, the more you want to go back.

        I work for the biggest cinema chain here in the UK and love to dissect movies and write the odd review myself. Look me up on LinkedIn, won’t you?

        PS – thanks you for introducing me to a new word, “largesse”!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. We theorized that the yellow powder represented sacrifices being made to the earth. The real clue was when she dumped it all in the toilet because Jesus was coming; there was no more need for sacrifice because Jesus would be the final sacrifice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Brettrubicristian!

      (Wow, that’s one mouthful of a name 😉 ) Thank you so much for adding to the conversation! There’s so much about your comment that makes sense, especially remarking that she stops taking the powder when Jesus is born…fascinating and I’d forgotten that. I ‘m also aware that in the Old Testament, sacrifices were needed to atone for sins, but the birth of Jesus changed that for Christians as he was the ultimate sacrifice and it was no longer necessary to sacrifice animals for forgiveness. While I agree with the timing, I’m not sure of the connection between yellow powder and sacrifice. It doesn’t seem she uses it as a sacrifice in the film. The more I think about it, I become more convinced that the powder represents happiness. Maybe she gets rid of the powder as she’s becoming a literal mother and so her baby will bring her happiness?

      Thoughts? Thank you once again for sharing!

      WTF Brett (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  9. It had no relevance first time round, as I hadn’t a clue as to what was coming. But, the very first opening scene has a severely-burned young woman giving her last gasp of air.

    The next scene is the crystal being placed back in it’s holder and ‘regenerating’ the house. By way of “bookending” the film, we see the very same scene at the end. Therefore suggesting that the whole story is cyclic, going on and on ad infinitum. J-Law’s ‘mother’ is merely one of a long succession of mothers.

    Basically, God can do WTF he likes, he has ultimate power.

    Pretty depressing (if you believe in religion) but it doesn’t detract from what is a masterful film.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Sabina!

      I really like the idea that the heart crystal is made from the yellow liquid. Is there a specific scene concerning this? I must have missed it. Your comment made me think that, if the liquid forms the heart and the heart is love, maybe the liquid is happiness? Any thoughts?

      Thanks so much for your visit.

      WTF Sabine (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  10. Hey,

    She also uses the same powder bottles to mix powder with clay for painting the wall. She had a whole box of those bottles! I wonder if that could help to understand what the “magic powder” medicine was…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also, a lot of people compare Mother! to “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic 1892 short story about postpartum depression and a woman gone mad thanks to her oppressive husband and a culture that doesn’t take her seriously. I’ve not seen the short story but like Mother, the protagonist in “The Yellow Wallpaper” has a deep connection to her house (or room, as it were), feeling as if it was alive. The yellow powder in Mother! could just be a nod to the story, representing a connection to other women suffering from mental illness, controlling husbands, and stifling gender norms. Also would explain why she went for yellowish colour for the house wall when mixing the magic powder into clay.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hallo Gina!

      So glad to have you along for the journey! There have been a few comments about the colour of the powder in this thread and, after having seen it for a second time and specifically looking for this point, I am in a position to confirm that the powder she adds to the green/grey paint is, indeed, yellowish. A very dark yellow, but a yellow nonetheless and the swath of paint she spreads on the wall beside the original greenish pass is clearly yellow-er than the original. I agree with you that this is a key point in the discussion about the yellow powder.

      Thank you again!

      WTF Gina (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  11. QUOTE from the article : “My personal take on the ending of the film, then, is that it’s autobiographical. Aronofsky recognizes his own need for attention and admiration can interfere with his personal relationships, going so far as causing some of them to end. Yet he doesn’t learn from this, because when one relationship ends, he simply moves on to the next.”

    It is much simpler then that. God is a egoistical creature that craves for attention. The movie clearly is a critique of christianity, the “myth” of creation, something that defies logic even when someone (mother in the movie) is always trying to be sensible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Davy!
      Yes, indeed, I posit at the end of my article that the film is autobiographical at the end. What’s more, when I saw the film for a second time, I was struck but the idea that the first image of the film is the burned figure of the lover who preceded Jennifer Lawrence’s character, and then we see Lawrence rising form the bed. Then, this situation repeats itself at the end, where Lawrence’s character burns, only to be replaced y an entirely different female.

      While I don’t disagree with what you’ve written about Aronofsky’s critique of creationism, I don’t find this angle sufficiently accounts for the different female characters burning and being replaced in succession. I still think there’s something more happening here.

      Thank you for your thoughts!

      WTF Davy (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  12. Davy, I like your thinking. However, if the ending is autobiographical and “when one relationship ends, he simply moves on to the next”, I feel for poor Jennifer!
    Maybe I should write her a nice letter?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo again Simon!

      Davy is in fact quoting the theory I present at the end of my article. As I explained in my response to his comment, seeing the film a second time did nothing to dissuade me from my point of view. On the contrary, it only served to reinforce it! As for Ms Lawrence, I’ve no doubt that she understood the symbolism but, like most lovers, is sure she’s the one that will change him. Time will tell!

      In the meantime, a nice letter couldn’t go amiss!

      WTF Simon (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  13. I think the ending explains the fallacy of God and the movie as a whole is a critique on the so called ‘perfect world created by God’
    It tells how God loves himself and his groupies more than he loves his creation (poem and mother, or content in the world and the world itself).

    The poem also represents the word of God and the Bible itself, the ten comandments, the Koran, the Thorah, or whatever religious ‘word of God’ – as it merely brings mass hysteria, blind following and a loss of comon decency, it explains how the word of God lies at the base of human terror and destruction.

    The entire movie could also be understood as a metaphore for domestic abuse and violence. Combining this with the Biblical theme, it is again a critique on religion as a blind love, given by one side by a beaten relationship partner, a tortured person : it is explaining the Stockholm syndrome in such relationships and you could conclude that religious adoration or sektarian adoration of belief systems and god figures, leading to violence and death, is actually just a form of collective shared Stockholm Syndrom.

    The yellow powder stands for the self-healing powers of Mother Earth, till Jesus is born (or in the domestic violence allegory : from the moment the beaten partner beliefs in one last imagined common relationship project). Once jesus is being born or lawrence believes in this common relationship project, she/earth gives herself completely in the hands of her human chils/life partner.. it is in the hands of her partner/child(ren) / human species now, to heal/protect mother of child/mother earth.
    If the yellow powder indeed symbolizes self-healing, then flushing it away when jesus gets born, or the human race rts responsibilized by a moral code, means directly that it is now up to the human species to adapt and preserve this garden of eden, this planet. If humans don’t, which they probably won’t (hence the eternal new trials of Javier/God and circular story line) then earth will spit out life, die. Thus the yellow powder stands for the self healing power of nature, although not unlimited in strength on the one hand, on the other hand throwing it away means putting the self healing/caretaking responsibility in the hands of the human species (and they fail).

    Thus for me, mother! is a movie which uses the bible allegory in combination with domestic violence allegory, to critique the selfish and imperfect side of the human species, in the image of its selfish and imperfect creator.

    Love, the chrystal, is the driving force, of everything, indestructible within the powers of nature (mother herself), but destroyed and shattered by those who take advantage of this love (God, domeatic violent partner, profiteets, ..) Even god is indirectly responsible for having love slippes away through his fingers (by the parents), but somehow the universe makes love a perpetual thing, an eternal existence. Love cannot be hold behind bars, it should be free. Love (also the hearth seen through the wall, and blackening by the end of the movie) is challenged the more, the more it is entrapped and encaged. Also remember the scene with different women behind bars “help us”, which stands for other women under domestic violence, thus also love being encaged and unfree. Or remember how He doesnt want anybody to touch love, as he cherishes it confined, as much as he leaves her confined.

    A final note. It is clear that God doesn’t give love back, He just takes it and thrives on it.
    … Love is within the human nature, and it has strong powers, but it has only one true state of belonging : love in a free setting, far away from adoration (or far away from the stockholm syndrome : love for the violent partner or the violent God or Religion that hurts time and again ones’ faith). Love is hurting in the movie, the more it gets encaged and has to live by the rules of the violent persona (domestic abusive partner or God).
    The other humans and their chaos represent his/His violence.

    This movie is a critique on the human species, as well as on Religion. It states that religious beliefs are nothing more than a form of collectively shared Stockholm Syndrome.
    Blind indestructible love, only receiving in return selfish, encaging and unloving violence and even destruction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Roeland!

      Thank you for such a well thought out comment!

      I agree on so many of your talking points! Yes, the film is a critique of religion. Yes, there is a definite subplot of domestic abuse to be found here (which I touched on when I was talking about Aronosfsky’s treatment of women/partners). This could also be extrapolated further to include sexism inherent in most modern organised religion. Yes, God can only receive love, yet cannot give it. And yes, the film is most definitely a critique of humanity in general!

      Wow, such a complete summary, thank you again for sharing it with us here!

      WTF Roeland (Watch The Film),

      Saint Paluly

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  14. About the ending, I see it as an apocalypse kind of thing. Nature can’t stand what society has been doing to her, so, eventually, the world collapses.

    The end of the world doesn’t really affect God, for it is merely his creation and he is much “bigger” than that. Therefore, he can just go on and create a whole new world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Juby!

      What a wonderful comment! Thank you so much. The end certainly does feel like an apocalypse, especially since She brings it on herself by setting the house on fire. And yes, he can certainly create a new world, though there is the interesting idea here that he does not create the world so much as the force he creates (another ‘she’) creates the world. Definitely something to think about!

      Thanks for your visit!

      WTF Juby (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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    1. Hallo Júlio!

      Thanks for the comment. I’ve read about this concept in other articles and I’m having a hard time committing to it 100%. Maybe I should read the story myself!

      Thanks again, my friend.

      WTF Júlio (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  15. I haven’t figured out the yellow powder yet. But perhaps if we put the clues all together it will become clear to someone:

    1. Aronofsky said in an interview, “Let’s just say it’s it’s harkening back to Victorian novels and this idea of a deeper connection for her and the house.”

    2. mother has bouts of discordance or dissonance, where sound and vision are distorted. These bouts show us the house or mother’s vision vibrating, like an earthquake. She sees visions of the un-beautified house. Is she seeing it before she beautified it, or in the state to which it will return?

    3. Possibly the latter, considering that the law of entropy says that things will fall apart. She is reminded during these moments that she must constantly work on the house (the earth) or it will revert to its post-destruction state, before she began to improve it.

    4. To stop these bouts, she takes the yellow powder – and here is where the question comes in. What is it? Happiness is one possible answer, as previously stated on this site. Love? Sunlight? Energy? If it is something she no longer needs once she is pregnant, that means whatever it is, it can be replaced by birthing the son of God onto the earth. And being pregnant with Jesus, she no longer sees visions of her world in its ugly state.

    5. As Aronofsky alluded to, the yellow powder connects her to the house, which is why she adds it to the clay to spackle the walls with. Interesting that she is not painting it on, but literally adding it to plaster (clay/earth) and adding it to the existing wall, repairing flaws while beautifying. We see her smear a big swath of it on, and then stand there, considering the color, and what it has done to improve the house. It is at that moment that she is feeling that connection to the house. So what does this mean?

    6. Is she going to do the whole house in yellow plaster? Who knows, but just in that one room – which appears to be the LIVING room, emphasis being important – she has a long way to go. Doing one smear at a time, it seems her work will never be done.

    7. Eve interrupts her from her beautification project. But she is not just Eve, she is woman. And what is she obsessing over? Lemonade. A watered down, pale version of the yellow drink mother has been imbibing?

    8. So if the yellow powder is the sunlight/energy/love that improves the world, as well as mother Earth/mother nature herself, which are in a constant state of entropy, then does the arrival of human woman on earth mean that mother becomes distracted by a much less vibrant, less satisfying elixir? She stops her plastering to indulge in a sip of this weak substitute.

    9. During the third act of the film, mother is hit with one after the other of these jarring, time-jumping, disturbing bouts, during which the progression of the corruption of mankind takes place. But she has no more yellow powder, having poured it down the toilet, putting all of her faith in her unborn child. So when her child is sacrificed, she has nothing with which to fight the destruction, and ultimately chooses to clean the slate for a new beginning by burning it all down. She has lost all hope.

    10. Aha! Does it fit this entire thought process, then, to say that the yellow powderbis HOPE?!?! Hope is what mother fills herself / the earth with, to repair it and beautify it. Mankind offers her hope, but it pales in comparison, and she returns to the stronger, self-administered hope – hope that the world itself is enough. Until God gives her his son to bring forth. She then puts all of her hope in him, and dispenses with any other form. Which is a mistake, because once mankind distorts the miracle that has occurred, bending it to their own interpretation, literally and figuratively killing their redeemer and what he stands for, mother’s hope has been torn apart and destroyed. But is all hope really gone? Is there a tiny amount still inside her? In her last moments, she willingly surrenders all that is left of herself – her pure (crystal clear – but some have said, with a hint of yellow) heart, to God, so that he can recreate her and let her try again.

    Whew. I’m exhausted!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hallo Rich!

      Wow! Thank you so much for your comment! I do appreciate your spending so much time adding to this article’s lore.

      I won’t be as thorough as you were, but there are a couple points I’d like to mention.

      1) I didn’t know that Aronofsky stated, “Let’s just say it’s it’s harkening back to Victorian novels and this idea of a deeper connection for her and the house,” in an interview. That being the case, I’m afraid I’ve no choce but to accept there must be some link to the short story, The Yellow Paper. In the past, I found this theory a tad far-fetched but if Aronofsky himself mentions it, then I must accept it, n’est-ce pas?

      2)I loved the detailed and logical way you went through your theory. In fact, it was so complete I don’t see how your conclusion can be ignored. Thus, I’m certianly wiling to admit the possibility that the yellow powder is hope. It makes perfect sense to me and, again, I appreciate your time and effort in laying this out for us!

      WTF Rich (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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    2. Thanks for all your work. I thought I would comment about the “aborted” or “miscarried” heart that was in the toilet. Not everyone has the ability to develop their heart or “soul” to full term development. It seems suiting that the ones that flock to Him are the ones that would flush their soul down the toilet. They would be the same ones that in their haste to make Yellow lemonade rune someone else’s kitchen, passing the pain instead of creating hope. Yellow pee on the floor. Yellow can be bad like a false god, or yellow can be good, like rays of morning light. Only the true of heart, no matter how misguided, can create yellow sunshine inside a broken room. Who can blame her for tapping into an artificial bottled yellow source when she was trying to bloom in such rundown emotionally toxic crazed surroundings. I do not think of Him as the true God. I think of Him as one who is doing a very bad imitation. He represents, to me, the “false” god, or Narcissistic personality. He seems to have a sense of the rule book and gets all excited when he has chances to copy it. All the way to the sacrifice of his own son. Notice that this false God did not let his son grow to manhood, there was no free will of choice. It is in Him that we see only selfish intent, his drive to be loved is not at all confused by carrying or consideration. There was not one example of a good that came from any of this self-centered chaotic destructive drive to possess all love ….disembodied.

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  16. I have a feeling that the yellow powder is laudanum. Aronofsky said to EW that it is related to the Victorian era.

    Laudanum was used to “calm down the spirits” when in an asthma crisis, for example. Many women used when in distress.

    I feel that it’s not necessarily an allegory to the Bible, but to the gaslighting Mother suffered. She never had the love or attention from Him. She was constantly dismissed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Leticia!

      I’m so grateful for your comment! I do believe you’re the first to give the pesky yellow product an actual name, so now I shall do some research into it to see what secrets it can reveal.

      As for the chemical not necessarily being meaningful beyond the literal meaning… I do agree it’s not necessarily biblical in nature, but I do suspect that, much like the heart crystal, it is not totally to be taken on face value, either.

      Thank you again so much for your input!

      WTF Laticia (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  17. Do you think there is any significance to the fact that her medicine cabinet has no mirror? All medicine cabinets have mirrors.
    I’m also intrigued that everyone scoffs when she says it’s her house. This happens repeatedly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Slaughtr!

      Thanks for the comment!

      You make a very interesting point about the medicine cabinet! I’d not though of that before. If pressed to answer, I’d say she doesn’t need a mirror becasue she doesn’t care how she loks. She’s a natural woman and a mirror would infer a vanity she doesn’t feel.

      As for the attitude people have when she tries to stake here territory, I took this to mean that we humans (mistakenly) think of nature and the planet as belonging to us, almost like a birthright owed to us.

      Thanks again for your observations!

      WTF Slaughtr (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  18. After reading all this, it makes the most sense that the yellow powder represents time or human sacrifice. Love, hope, happiness, sunshine – these all work on some level but they either 1) don’t provide the necessary connection between Mother Nature and the Environment and/or 2) explain why Mother Nature would dispose of it once she finds out she is pregnant. Indeed, many of these more positive hypothesized things you’d think she’d want to keep around for her child after it was born.

    Re. how it could be time – specifically I’m thinking of time as it can allow the environment heal and grow. In the beginning, the Earth (i.e. house) had grey walls. In other words the planet wasn’t a very pretty place because it was barely developed. But after adding time, it becomes beautiful (the pretty yellow walls). Then when she’s having her episodes in the first half of the film (Old Testament), she drinks the time as a way to accelerate through the periods of destruction (we can imagine human-induced) that she’s suffering from. By medicating herself with time, she allows herself to speed past the tumult with the necessary years she needs to heal (I wouldn’t be surprised if each panic attack episode relates to some era of environmental upheaval in Old Testament history). When she finds out she’s pregnant, she throws out the powder because she no longer wants to accelerate through the years. Her son will be human and she believes his birth will bring a new era of peace to the Earth. In other words, yes she has hope, and she doesn’t want the manufactured fast-forwards anymore so she gets rid of the medicine.

    Re. how it could be human sacrifice – we know this happened a lot in the early stages of civilization, Old Testament times. Considering how the film portrays humanity as a blight on the environment, you could see how Aronofsky is showing how these doses of human sacrifice give Mother Nature a temporary reprieve from the destruction man is causing her. Thus I can see the powder as a sort of symbol for population control and why when adding it to the clay for the walls it makes the house (Earth) prettier. But again, once Mother Nature becomes pregnant with a human child, she can’t stomach the idea of human sacrifice anymore and flushes the powder. She no longer can stand to self-medicate this way (there’s also an argument here that the child (Jesus) was God’s ultimate sacrifice to save the Earth and therefore the continual human sacrifices were no longer needed, but I have my doubts on this one because I don’t think mother would have been privy to or ok with that plan, especially given her reaction when the crowd does kill her child in the end).

    The idea of the yellow powder tying in with Victorian times – I think that just means that Aronofsky was trying to tap into that imagery of how women during that period would be treated/self-medicate with powders, potions, elixirs, etc. It just has to do with why Aronofsky chose her medication to be in powder form versus a pill. It reinforces the subtext of those times of women (Mother Nature) being dismissed/subdued/not taken seriously by men (God) and how they were given all sorts of concoctions to keep them weak and subservient. Many serious maladies back then were simply labeled as women’s hysteria and she was given an opiate to keep her numb, when really she was suffering from something real and the men were either too blind or too insensitive to notice, like God treats Mother Nature in the movie. I think that’s all Aronofsky’s trying to elude to with the Victorian comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo DA!

      Goodness! Thank you for leaving such a well thought out and complete comment! You obviously put a lot of time and energy into figuring it out and I appreciate you coming here to share it with us.

      A lot of what you say makes a lot of sense and gives us a lot more to think about! When you discuss the issue of time, I especially appreciate your remark about how grey the house was before the guests arrived. She experiments with the yellow paint on the walls, but the house definitely does feel a tad dingy, which would coincide with the Old Testament where there was basically nothing until God created heaven and earth, and then the animals, etc. It would make sense that there would be part of the creation myth here, especially as she’s helping to create the house and the early part of the film is based on the beginning of Genesis.

      What I picked up in your second point, about human sacrifice, was especially the ‘sacrifice’ aspect. It’s true that, in the Old Testament, humans had to atone for their sins with animal sacrifice. Then, in the New Testament, God let his own son be sacrificed to replace the need for other animal sacrifices. Meaning, that once one accepted Christ, the need to sacrifice was no longer there. I’m not %100 convinced that the powder symbolises human sacrifice, but the idea of sacrifice would explain why she disposes of the powder once Jesus is born. Food for thought, and I appreciate your bringing it to the table!

      Great work, DA! I do hope you’ll continue to share your observations with us.

      WTF DA (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  19. The yellow power represents HOPE. Read the story of Pandora’s box and how hope is considered the “one good thing left in the box” but then the controversy about it. Many people consider hope a fools game, that results in pointless cruelty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Move Person!

      Thanks so much for your comment! I shall be looking into the Pandora’s Box angle, but do you think that Aronofsky would make room in his Biblical epic for Greek mythology? It would seem a bit of a malapropism, I think…

      Let me know your thoughts on this! And thanks again for the comment!

      WTF Move Person (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  20. My first thought was that the yellow reminded me of the Yellow Wallpaper (excellent short-story with a similar claustrophobia).

    As far as symbolism, it made me think of those bandaid fixes we attempt to fix the planet with.

    If there is an oil spill, we rush to clean it up, therefore “calming and saving” the planet without ever actually getting to the root of the problem and correcting the cause. The yellow tonic “fixes” her anxiety without ever actually fixing the problems that cause it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Brittany!

      Thank you so much for the comment!

      I really must peruse ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’. I don’t know why I keep putting it off, but there you have it.

      And I wholeheartedly agree with you on your ‘bandaid fixes’, though I’m wondering if there’s a link between the colour and the fixes… Any thoughts?

      Thank you once again for your contribution!

      WTF!? Brittany (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  21. In the scene where JLaw sees Bardem and Harris in the Toilet, she sees he has a wound in his side…would this not relate to God taking Adams rib and making Eve…especially since Eve (Pfieffer) turns up the next morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Norm!

      Thank you for the reminder! This idea was developed in the Comments section of the post, but it should probably be moved to the main body of the article. Also, thank you for highlighting the relationship between the rib and Eve’s arrival! I hadn’t realised they were that close. Thanks again!

      WTF Norm (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  22. I don’t know if it’s been commented on already, but I’ll say it anyway. The lighter represents man’s discovery of fire, in my opinion. It’s a power he’s been given, but also uses to destroy himself. Hence why Ed Harris’ character smokes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Khalid!

      No one’s dared broached this question until now, you brave boy! What’s more, your answer is completely plausible! It makes a lot of sense in many ways. I’m thinking it means that, after the fall, God gives to Adam the knowledge of good and evil, and the symbol on the lighter represents this dichotomy. I’ve changed the status of The Lighter to ‘Established’, thanks to you (and of course given you credit)! Very astute, indeed.

      Thank you for your ‘enlightenment’!

      WTF Khalid (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  23. Kia ora Saint Pauly,

    Fascinating piece and comments, thanks.

    I have some thoughts on the yellow powder. Not specifically what it is, but perhaps how it contributes to a recurring theme in Aronofsky’s work overall.

    After seeing mother!, I re-watched several of Aronofsky’s previous films. As anyone who has seen Requiem For a Dream and The Wrestler will recall, substance addiction is heavily explored: In RFAD, characters are totally driven by their use of various drugs, and in The Wrestler we see Mickey Rourke’s character using steroids with terrible consequences.

    I’m thinking about whether mother is an addict of some kind. To what, I don’t know and will marinade on this. But her behaviour is very similar to that of an addict – she cannot seem to cope without her yellow powder, and once it’s all gone, everything falls apart.

    Substance addiction is clearly an overarching interest in Aronofsky’s work, and I feel it’d be natural for him to continue discussing this in mother!, but the dots don’t quite connect for me when it comes to identifying exactly what our Earth could be addicted to, and cannot function for long without.

    Cheers,

    Dudley

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tena koe Dudley!

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I also very much appreciate the insight you offer concerning the use of addiction as a constant theme in Aronofsky’s works! I totally agree that is a central part in the DNA of his craft and fits in very nicely in mother!. As to the precise chemical to which she’s become addicted, I’m quite sure it’s ‘monoatomic gold‘, which another commender pointed out in a previous comment. Thanks for you insight and participation!

      WTF Dudley (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  24. With all the explanations of the yellow powder, I still tend to go with the idea that it represents the sun. The sun has life-giving power and if you give Mother Earth a moment alone with just the sun, she will heal. (Also mentioned before is the man representing humans who interrupts her healing session by bursting in the bathroom “exploring”). She uses the same powder as the perfect color for paint, which she uses to restore the house (earth). When she finds she is pregnant with “Jesus,” who is known as the “light of this world,” she throws out the yellow powder, almost as if it is a drug, and her baby provides her with the real thing.

    Also, I know it’s been figured out that the baby is Jesus, but that helped me make sense of the scenes right after the baby was born. Time is very constrained in the movie, so Mother Earth always sees her child as a baby. Everyone came and brought them gifts at his birth (wise men bringing gifts), but she is not ready to share her baby with the people. After time has passed, and God has been sitting there waiting and waiting for the right moment, the baby is now older (adult Jesus), so he is taken from her and given to the people. Parallel to the story of Jesus’ birth and then his adult life.

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    1. Hallo Lostsymphonies!

      Thank you so your visit and your ‘enlightening’ comment. I understand your acceptance that the yellow powder is the sun, and you make a good point when you bring up the yellow additive to the paint for the wall. The only thing that still has me holding back and thinking the powder is a ‘cure-all’ powder is the bottle. I shall be publishing (hopefully in the coming days) my full synopsis of mother!, which will include the following screenshot. As you can see, the bottle resembles the old snake oil type pharmacy style and includes the word ‘remedy’, as long as a New York address. Or perhaps I’m simply taking things too literally (again!). Take a look at the photo and do let me know what you think.

      I also loved your summary concerning the life of Jesus. It seemed spot on, and is much appreciated!

      Thank you for your contributions!

      WTF lostsymphonies (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Taking a powder

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  25. The outside of the house could very well be heaven or the after life(or before life or even before the understanding of Christianity, people were “lost” wondering around without a purpose and trying to find one then they were “found/saved” by falling the word of the poet).

    I believe thing in the toilet is Eve. During the scene where the Poet is standing over “Adam” his lower back has a scar (where his rib was pulled out).

    As for what “Adam” is sick with it is loneliness. I’m not for certain how it goes in the bible, but from what I remember is that Adam was lonely and he want a companion so he went to God and asked him for one.

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    1. Hallo Joey!

      My, aren’t we the brave one, taking on the most challenging questions in one fell swoop! Your response to the question concerning the house makes me wonder if the surrounding area isn’t perhaps not the after life or heaven (which is the upper floors of the house) or hell, which would be the basement, but nihility. If you look at the screenshot I’m attaching, you’ll see that beyond the realm of the grass immediately surrounding the house, there’s a burning zone, like from when the previous house ceased to exist. Might this not then represent ‘nothing’?

      As for the thing in the toilet being Eve, it seems like a solid theory until one remembers the appearance of the beast in the bowl happens after Eve’s arrival in the house.

      Adam’s sickness being that of loneliness makes sense, though I was unable to find any reference to the story you mention when researching the Bible. (For the synopsis I’m currently writing, I’m using this online copy.)

      Your efforts are much appreciated!

      WTF Joey (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  26. I think maybe the door knob represent lucifer? A guardian angel of Eden knocked out of the sky by god to the bottom of hell. The door knob is used to commit the first crime of passion in which one man kills another.

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    1. Hallo Cassandra!

      Thank you for this insight! I find it incredibly intriguing. I shall be be putting it in the review, and crediting it to you, of course!

      Thanks again for your input!

      WTF Cassandra (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

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  27. The beauty of loving a film that so many hate, is that you can buy the discs so cheap when they’re released. I’m getting my Mother! blu ray delivered next week – £6.99 off ebay!

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      1. In almost every culture yellow represents happiness warmth and sunshine I think this is what Mother was drinking and she flushed it after she found she was pregnant because she figured her child would bring her all those things….just my opinion

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        1. Hallo Big Daddy!

          What a lovely name! I can’t help but agree with you, as I’m sure the colour yellow was chosen for the reasons you outline so clearly, though I do suspect the form it takes (powder) is in link with the gold powder mentioned in the text. Thank you for your thoughts!

          WTF Big Daddy (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly

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  28. Well, when I saw the charred land around the house and when He is standing in front of the burned house in the poem, I thought it is a nice resemlance of the beginning of genesis “The earth was without form and void”; you might know that the hebrew word for this is tohuwabohu (tohubohu)- so this is the uncreated, chaotic part of the biblical cosmos.
    Where does He/God leaves when not in the house- well he does not have to be in his creation, I would say.

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    1. Hallo CMC!

      Thank you so much for your thoughts! I loved the Hebrew you’ve taught us, and would love to be able to pronounce the word, if only I knew how. Your comment makes loads of sense, and I appreciate this flash of intelligence in my synopsis!

      WTF CMC (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

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