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Why Aronofsky’s ‘mother!’ Misses the Mark by a Mile

Director Darren Aronofsky famously called his movie “Noah” “the least Biblical film ever made.”

He also claimed that film’s lead character was the “first environmentalist.” The comment suggests the movie story line doesn’t exactly follow the Bible’s. It was a play on Jewish mythology.

Aronofsky’s latest film, “mother!” is clearly a twisted telling of the creation of life and the birth and death of Christ the savior as brought into the world by God the father. Let me put it lightly -- it doesn’t end well for the infant in “mother!”

Many of the director’s films, like the extraordinary “Pi” and “The Fountain,” deal with spirituality and the human condition. The problem with the spirit of his latest film? It comes from an outsider looking in on someone else’s faith. When the story of Christianity is told by an atheist director its true spirit is never understood.

Like the villain Saul of Tarsus who spent his days persecuting and murdering Christians; it took Christ’s presence to change Saul to Paul. Only when Jesus gets in your face can one’s heart be changed.

FAST FACT: “mother!” earned a disappointing $7.5 million in its opening weekend and a CinemaScore of “F” from movie goers.

As a filmmaker on the road to directing a faith-based film that I hope reaches a bigger, more secular audience I must remember this. To retreat from the culture and then define the gospel in a film that uses only insider language that the culture can’t understand is a sin.

I’m sure at the least Aronofsky believes in sin. Because “sin,” in it its simplest definition, means to “miss the mark.” His latest film is a sin. That’s not due to a lack of talent, but because the story of creation he tells is from an outsider looking in.

I don’t know the specifics of Aronofsky’s “spirituality.” I love his films, and support filmmakers taking on any story they choose. But if you want your message to reach a bigger audience, it’s helpful to get inside the faith with your heart, not just your talent.

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2 Comments

  1. It could just be that Aronofsky is the most overrated director in Hollywood. Pi was semi-competent, albeit so over-stylized as to be mistaken for any film student’s final project. Unfortunately, he hasn’t improved. His films are unbearably pretentious and end up going nowhere.

    1. To this day, I don’t understand why people liked Pi so much. I thought it was a confusing, pretentious mess. Admittedly, Requiem For A Dream and The Wrestler were very well-made, but the rest of his movies were highly overrated.

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