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Critics dub Aronofsky ‘mother!’ a massive display of WTF?!

It looks like Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem might just be a part of the most WTF movie of 2017.

Reviews for Darren Aronofsky’s mother! — which debuted at the Venice Film Festival on Monday and so far has scored a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes — are in, and whether they hated or loved the paranoia-inducing psychological thriller, the consensus amongst critics seems to be, “What the fresh hell did I just watch?”

Here’s what some brave critics are saying after beholding the unconventional Black Swan-esque film filled with creepy unexpected guests and blood-dripping lightbulbs.

mother! has quite the familiar feel

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter:

Aesthetically resembling Black Swan more than any of the director’s other previous work, but with touches of Requiem for a Dream, this Paramount release could score solidly with the public on the basis of the genre elements and the star’s drawing power.

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist:

…it should give you some idea of the bravado of Aronofsky’s maximalist approach that his film can refer so directly to schlockbusters and old classics alike, often in the same shaky breath: There’s The Innocents, Poe‘s The Tell-Tale Heart, Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby, and Rebecca scattered throughout, but there’s also a good helping of Pacific Heights and The Skeleton Key.”

Owen Gleiberman, Variety:

The fact that she imbibes any substance at all may link the film, in Aronofsky’s mind, to the Ellen Burstyn section of “Requiem for a Dream,” in which the director imagined addiction to amphetamines as a hallucination from hell. But that outrageous and memorable episode expressed something deep and true: that this is what drugs could do to your brain.

Things get pretty nuts and even that’s an understatement

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist:

The very first image, even before the title flashes up in its scratchy calligraphic font, is a close-up of a woman’s face as she burns alive — skin bubbling and peeling, eyes open and glassily, eerily calm. (There will be quite a bit of looping and pattern repetition going on throughout, but this first shot might as well be a kind of future-mirror for how your own face is going to feel in about two hours — forget popcorn, bring aloe vera).

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter:

The film’s demented final stretch is a madhouse bacchanal, a circus-like inferno which seems welcomed by Him and simply horrifies mother. This quasi-hallucinatory, disco inferno-ish climax is multi-layered and ambiguous enough to accommodate multiple interpretations; it’s a mother’s worst nightmare, a vision of the contemporary world coming apart while the oblivious masses treat it as the ultimate party, a view of primitive hedonism trumping educated civilization, the destructive mob prevailing over the constructive individual, all perhaps an intuitive sign of the times as envisioned by Aronofsky.

Owen Gleiberman, Variety:

The film’s horror plays off everything from the grabby hordes of celebrity culture to the fear of Nazis and terrorists to — yes — what it means to be a mother (complete with the world’s most ironic exclamation point).

Ben Croll, IndieWire:

Come for the house that bleeds; stay for the reflections on parenthood and the difficulty of living with fame.

Props to Darren Aronofsky for being weird AF

Owen Gleiberman, Variety:

If the only thing we wanted, or expected, a horror film to do was to get a rise out of you — to make your eyes widen and your jaw drop, to leave you in breathless chortling spasms of WTF disbelief — then Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” would have to be reckoned some sort of masterpiece … Considering the number of cruddy recycled horror movies made by hacks that score at the box office, the film is almost destined to be a success, maybe even a “sensation,” because Aronofsky is no hack — he’s a dark wizard of the cinematic arts.

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist:

An incendiary religious allegory, a haunted-house horror, a psychological head trip so extreme it should carry a health warning and an apologia for crimes of the creative ego past and not yet committed, it’s not just Aronofsky’s most bombastic, ludicrous and fabulous film, spiked with a kind of reckless, go-for-broke, leave-it-all-up-there-on-the-screen abandon, it is simply one of the most films ever.

The film hits theaters Sept. 15, so luckily you still have some time to emotionally prepare.

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