Have you ever rented a movie you just loved and wanted to let the world know? Or, conversely, have you ever borrowed a movie from Best Video Film & Cultural Center and just loathed it? Disliked it so much that you hoped the filmmaker went into another line of work and never again created flickering images to be projected on a screen?
One BVFCC member rented director Darren Aronofsky’s recent film “Mother!”, which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. To put it mildly, this member did not enjoy it. And she let us know in a handwritten note that provoked a boisterous discussion on our Best Video Film & Cultural Center Facebook page.
“Mother!”’s Rotten Tomatoes‘ rating is 69%—not “certified fresh” but certainly creditable. New York Times critic A.O. Scott didn’t deem the flick a “Critic’s Pick” but he did enthuse, “Don’t listen to anyone who natters on about how intense or disturbing it is; it’s a hoot!”
[Actress Jennifer] Lawrence, for her part, bears an impossible burden. In dramatic terms, she is a passive, reactive protagonist, a cipher and, in the strict sense of the word, an icon. Called upon to embody all of womankind — and a lot else besides — she is denied the chance to be human, and her blankness empties the film of emotional power.
What it has, instead, is extravagant sensation and churning intellectual energy. Mr. Aronofsky is a virtuoso of mood and timing, a devoted student of form and technique straining to be a credible visionary. But as wild and provocative as his images can be, there is something missing — an element of strangeness, of difficulty, of the kind of inspiration that overrides mere cleverness.
On the other hand, “Mother!” made me laugh harder and more frequently than just about any other movie I’ve seen this year. I don’t say this derisively. Mr. Aronofsky’s visual wit and dexterous, disciplined camera movements create frissons of comic terror. His gift for escalation — evident in the marvelous crescendo of frenzied action that occupies most of the movie’s second half — may be unmatched in his generation of filmmakers.
On New Year’s Eve, the BVFCC member dissented, writing:
“Mother!” is the worst movie I have ever taken out of Best Video. The director, Darren Aronofsky, is a misogynist. Women should boycott this horrible movie and should ruin Aronofsky’s chances of ever making another film. The critics who called this movie “brilliant” belong on a trash heap with him.
Numerous commenters weighed in pro and con on “Mother!” And one BVFCC member urged us to “please feature more handwritten reviews from BV customers!”
We would love to! So feel free to let us know what YOU think when you have a powerful emotional and/or intellectual reaction to a film. The Best Video world wants to know!