A baroque nightmare

Jennifer Lawrence is shrugging off the sharp reaction to her latest movie “mother!,” which was met with both boos and cheers at its first outing this week and has sent critics into opposing love and hate camps.
The horror movie, directed by Darren Aronofsky, features Oscar-winner Lawrence as a young pregnant woman whose life falls apart when uninvited guests arrive at the secluded country home she shares with her husband.
Some of the more sensational scenes include Lawrence burning in flames and a human heart being flushed down the toilet.
“The reviews have just been cracking me up,” Lawrence told reporters at the London roll-out of the movie on Wednesday following its world premiere at the Venice film festival.
“People either love it or they absolutely hate it and I think that’s so cool. Like there’s not one person that’s walked out of it like ‘uh,’ and I love that,” she added.
The movie, featuring one of the industry’s most sought-after actresses and an award-winning director, arrives in movie theaters worldwide next week as Hollywood’s long awards season gets under way.
Variety’s Owen Gleiberman called the movie “a baroque nightmare that’s about nothing but itself,” while New York Magazine’s David Edelstein called it both “grandiose and self-aggrandising.”
Peter Bradshaw at Britain’s Guardian newspaper gave it five stars, adding “As horror it is ridiculous, as comedy it is startling and hilarious, and as a machine for freaking you out it is a thing of wonder.”
Lawrence and Bardem play a married couple, never named, who live in a colossal house in the middle of nowhere: an octagonal folly belonging to his family which has had to be extensively rebuilt after an awful fire. Lawrence has evidently taken on the task of design and decor.
This is her domestic passion-project activity pursued in a submissive spirit while her famous older-man husband gets on with his agonised vocation: trying and failing to write. He is a celebrated popular author and poet whose work has touched people deeply — a kind of solemn Paulo Coelho figure who is now however wrestling with writer’s block, unable to get his desperately sensitive words down with an old-fashioned fountain pen on what looks like parchment. No laptop for him. And yet Jennifer is doomed to be a kind of B-list Sofia Tolstoy, harassed by her husband’s creepy acolytes whom he indulges.

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