This article was written by Elizabeth Howlett of Bloggy Balboa.
Potentially one of the most controversial releases of 2017, Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!, has been widely speculated and theorised; a quick Google search can remedy any doubts surrounding the religious implications and answer almost every question on the cryptic clues. Aronofsky himself attempted to clear up any confusion in a Reddit AMA, explaining that it tells the story of Him/God (Javier Bardem) and Mother Nature (Jennifer Lawrence) as they attempt to build a house and a life for themselves. We see Him’s God-like-poetry draw in crowds of adoring fans as Mother’s house is destroyed. We see him narcissistically and unapologetically cast her away, as she continues to give.
Thanks to a brace of explainer blogs online we know the major themes, the exact biblical passages, explanations for the sink flooding, the lighter, the powder, and even the Kristen Wigg cameo.
But nothing seems to explain the crystal.
And by crystal, I am referring to the mad thing in Him’s office that Woman/Eve (Michelle Pfeiffer) destroys, made from the beating heart (presumably) of the previous Mother Nature.
The crystal was an extreme focal point throughout the movie – Eve’s destruction of it was a catalyst in the couple’s plight. Some have argued that this crystal represents ‘the apple’ (it isn’t an apple, it is a fruit) from The Garden of Eden, as Eve cannot resist touching it.
While this is an entirely plausible explanation, I fear that it is only the tip of a deeply metaphorical iceberg.
I want to argue that it is a representation of the suppression and containment of nature, with the marriage of mankind. Phew; a mouthful, I know.
The first point I am going to throw out into the film theory cosmos, is: if God created everything and Bardem is God, then he created Mother Nature?
God made her, and he has a degree of ownership to nature – but what he cannot do is control it, as much as he wishes he could.
The entire film centres on what Lawrence has described as “the rape and torment of Mother Nature”. It is therefore reasonable to argue that God has to belittle her power, for without her his creations cannot live, but she doesn’t like his creations.
They try to destroy her and keep destroying her. If the cycle is to be believed, then Eve has smashed that crystal an infinite amount of times.
This scene could be cementing the idea that, not only does humanity destroy nature presently, it also destroys the remnants of what came before.
To take that point potentially too far, it could be read as Mother Nature being the real mastermind behind the earth, but Him’s work coming first, before everything – and maybe this is why the Bible never really explains the dinosaurs?
Moving onto the house itself, Mother can feel its beating heart when she touches it. The walls are painted in earthy colours and it is clearly a metaphor for our planet. I want to argue that the house represents the core of the earth or, at least, the hub of nature.
It represents the natural life force that the earth has, thanks to Mother Nature’s input. When things start to get a bit chaotic, Him’s fans anoint themselves with ashes from the rubble onto their forehead – a nod to Ash Wednesday.
The reasoning behind this ritual according to the Bible is for man to remember their mortality, and be humbled by God, “remember, man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.”
Ash and diamonds have a bit of a link, and if you know your science then you know where I am heading.
Apparently, the origin of diamonds still has some grey areas, but essentially it happens when carbon, deep into the earth’s core (about 100 miles, according to Google), gets heated to around 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and is then put under 725,000 pounds per square inch of pressure. We have developed machines that can do this for us but the diamonds will never be as ‘pure’ as nature’s home-grown methods.
I hope you are starting to pick up what I am putting down…
Him takes Mother’s heart from her charred crispy body and squeezes it in between his hands. He squeezes it so hard that it turns into a diamond – the last gift from nature.
Man-made objects are the total opposite to items or gifts that nature ‘gives us’, so the crystal represents God containing Mother’s essence and confining it.
The crystal is arguably a physical embodiment of Science vs. Religion, Nature vs. Industry or simply put, Her vs. Us.
Mother! serves as an Ash Wednesday-style ritual, and in watching we are anointed with the realisation that nature is ever-powerful and deserves to be respected and acknowledged, because thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.
Written by Elizabeth Howlett
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