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Jennifer Lawrence endures the hell of other people in Darren Aronofsky’s darkly exhilarating ‘mother!’ – Los Angeles Times

There’s a moment early on in “mother!,” a thrilling descent into house-of-horrors madness from writer-director Darren Aronofsky, that suggests the proverbial calm before the storm.

A lovely young housewife (Jennifer Lawrence), not sure which color to paint her living room, decides to consult the house itself on the matter. As she places her hands against the wall, the camera zooms through layers of plaster to locate what appears to be a heart beating within — a ludicrous image that nonetheless speaks to the profound connection the woman feels with her home, as if she were its protector rather than the other way around.

It — and she — will certainly need protecting. You’ve probably heard the line about a film’s setting being a character in its own right, but rarely has that cliché been upended as ingeniously as it is in “mother!” Over the course of two precisely modulated, increasingly frenzied hours, this cherished piece of country real estate will play any number of roles: a monument, a monster and finally a victim, shuddering under a violent onslaught unleashed by the wife, or maybe her husband, or maybe — to complete this unholy trinity — writer-director Darren Aronofsky himself.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, something that could never be said about this gloriously sustained shriek of a movie (that exclamation point is no exaggeration). For a story that seems to compress an entire history of human civilization into two hours, “mother!” always unfolds in an unsettlingly immediate present tense.

Jennifer Lawrence endures the hell of other people in Darren Aronofsky’s darkly exhilarating ‘mother!’ – Los Angeles Times

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