Harvey Weinstein praises Darren Aronofsky's mother! as a masterpiece

mother! Darren Aronofsky Jennifer Lawrence Javier Bardem

While writer/director Darren Aronofsky's horror offering mother! flounders at the global box office, having made just over $27 million worldwide so far, we've seen both distributor Paramount and star Jennifer Lawrence come out in defense of the film, which received an F grade from audience members according to CinemaScore.

The latest person to show mother! some support is a major force in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein. Writing in to Deadline.com, Weinstein has dubbed mother! a masterpiece. He compares the film to Roman Polanski's REPULSION, in that it's a movie that can scare the audience while also making them think, and compares Aronofsky to F.W. Murnau, feeling that their films share a startling, unnerving, brilliant fluidity.

About mother! itself, Weinstein says, 

Mother! is another one of these movies that will live forever. Critics and audiences lament the fact that there isn’t any new, daring or original work out there. If that’s the case, then this is The Holy Grail of original, yet it works its magic in a genre that is as old as movies itself – horror.

... Mother! is the ultimate writer’s block movie. We’ve seen some excellent films come from this sub-genre, with Stephen King’s works often leading the pack. But this is not just a story of stymied genius; it exists in a class of its own. The layers astound me – the biblical, the natural, the referential – all stacking together to lead us into a kind of wild ride through the Western world’s narrative canon. And yet it never feels overstuffed – the tension is as taut as can be. The first twenty minutes had me on the edge of my seat; I nearly jumped out of my skin when we first see Javier Bardem on screen. When I’m frightened, I reach Steph Curry heights; Mother! had me hanging off the basket rim.

And the dread never lessens, just builds; Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer show up and there’s something so youthful about their characters – a kind of almost-feral sexiness that totally dominated their scenes. I couldn’t look away. And I know I’m prejudiced about Jennifer Lawrence, because I always have and always will think she’s great. But with each performance, it becomes clear to me that she is one of the Greats, alongside my girl Judi Dench and the indomitable Meryl Streep.

I finished the film, and then watched it again right away. This is no criticism, but I liked the first time more, purely because of the rush that comes with brushing against such outrageous, exciting filmmaking. The viewer experience is a wild ride that is totally anchored by Jennifer Lawrence throughout. She’s not just the protagonist – she is the film’s locus, its center, its heart. Aronofsky shot her in a way that feels so unique to how she is usually positioned; she’s as much our lead as she is our Master of Ceremonies, or perhaps our Virgil, leading us further and further into Darren’s inferno.

... It should be clear to anyone reading that I think Darren is brilliant, as is his film. I expect the conversations about Mother! will continue long after it has left theaters. He brought us a story we all thought we knew, and made it his own; a story about women and men, the creative process and its victims. It’s a terrifying story, but an important one.

Weinstein is putting mother! to the test this weekend by having his horror fanatic 14-year-old daughter and her friends go see it. While he was concerned that it might be "too philosophical or high-brow" for them, he also feels that mother! will stand up to the test because it's intelligent but accessible, engaging rather than alienating.

Weinstein and Aronofsky do have a history together, although Weinstein has never been credited as a producer on a film directed by Aronofsky. They were both executive producers on David O. Russell's THE FIGHTER and Aronofsky produced and co-wrote David Twohy's 2002 horror movie BELOW, which Weinstein executive produced.

For now, I'm completely neutral on the subject of mother!, as I still haven't seen it. Eric Walkuski gave it a 6/10 review.

Extra Tidbit: Have you seen mother!?
Source: Deadline



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