With his most recent movie, mother!, director Darren Aronofsky chose to serve up some extra WTF, and the film’s ending is just as bonkers as everything that went before it. We now know that mother! is an allegory in its entirety, despite the fact that the movie’s plot was kept a secret until it was released.
The entire film is essentially a retelling of the Bible, with Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer playing Adam and Eve, Javier Bardem playing God, and Jennifer Lawrence playing Mother Nature. If you’re still unsure of the allegory’s meaning, Matt Goldberg does an excellent job of explaining it all here.
But in this case, we wanted to talk explicitly about the film’s ending and its significance. If you’ve watched the movie, you know that Lawrence’s character becomes pregnant following the “flood” (the sink breaking) and that she and the poet have been leading quiet lives ever since the “intruders” were driven out.
But as soon as the poet is done writing his latest poetry, a swarm of unfamiliar people barge in and show their admiration for him. Mother! then swiftly goes through a “best hits” of humanity’s existence, focusing primarily on conflict, violence, and the invention of religion. The poet’s new poem is akin to the New Testament of the Bible.
Mother’s Story Is Over! Explained
The mother, a young woman who is the main character in the movie, spends her days restoring a Victorian mansion that she shares with her poet husband in a rural area. One night, the couple opens their door to a stranger, who they welcome inside.
After welcoming his wife and two children when they arrive later, horror quickly breaks out as more and more individuals arrive and demolish the couple’s house. She is furious with her husband for showing such kindness and consideration to everyone else but her.
The link between God, humanity, the Earth, and Mother Nature is the subject of this movie’s metaphor. God is represented by Javier Bardem’s character, the poet, while Mother Nature is represented by Jennifer Lawrence’s character, the mother.
Each individual revealed during the movie has a clear connection to a story from the Old and New Testaments, and the Earth is the house that the mother is continuously tinkering with.
In a way, mother! is Aronofsky recounting biblical tales through a prism of horror that is remarkably similar to our own?
With careful camera angles that imply that these dreams or strange scenarios only exist in her imagination, the story is conveyed from the mother’s perspective. The audience starts to understand that nothing in the movie is a dream as it progresses.
Everything is occurring and has already occurred. Those who were raised on or have some familiarity with biblical tales may see clear parallels all throughout the movie.
The characters played by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer are Adam and Eve, while their offspring, Brian and Domhnall Gleeson, are Cain and Abel.
The birth of a long-awaited messiah is taken from the mother and given to mankind, only for them to take the baby, kill it, and devour its flesh while they worship an altar constructed for the poet but not for the mother. Biblical floods chase the destruction of humankind away from the home.
Even when given a rescuer and complete innocence, mankind only commits murder as they blindly consume the messiah’s flesh.
When the mother tries to restore order to the turmoil because she is upset with the poet’s invention and his inability to control it, she is attacked and battered. She destroys the house in retribution, annihilating both herself and humanity in the process.
But Why Doesn’t the Poet Do Anything to Stop This?
The poet takes the mother’s burned body to the bedroom and uses his hands to remove her pulsating heart as a reference to Hinduism. She disintegrates into ash, and the heart that was burned turns into a new fire crystal to replace the one that the woman earlier in the movie broke.
We return to the beginning of the movie as he inserts the new fire crystal in its holder, only to find that the world we just watched destroyed has been subtly changed. God (also known as Brahma in Hinduism) re-creates the universe while the mother (also known as Shiva in Hinduism) finally destroys it.
Since the poet is powerless over his works, he remakes them and prays for the best.