For generations Christians embraced the tale of Noah’s Ark as a deeply spiritual saga.
Director Darren Aronofsky looked at the same story and saw an ecological warning instead. It’s how he crafted the 2014 “Noah” starring Russell Crowe and Emma Watson. He called it the “least-biblical biblical film ever made.” The movie enjoyed a big box office opening but soon sank like a stone.
Now, the director is back with his most mercurial film to date. He’s not done defending the planet, though.
“mother!” (yes, the lower case ‘m’ is intentional) stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a couple whose life spins out of control when Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer drop in unexpectedly.
The director toiled on the movie under a cloak of secrecy. The marketing campaign is equally opaque. Who doesn’t love a little mystery at a time when films hit theaters following a gaggle of trailers, stills and featurettes?
The film’s press notes hint at something else. Turns out Aronofsky’s latest is a continuation with his environmental obsession. Here’s his statement on the film’s creation:
It is a mad time to be alive. As the world population nears 8 billion we face issues too serious to fathom: Ecosystems collapse as we witness extinction at an unprecedented rate; Migrant crises disrupt governments; A seemingly schizophrenic U.S. helps broker a landmark climate treaty and months later withdraws; Ancient tribal disputes and beliefs continue to drive war and division; The largest iceberg ever recorded breaks off an Antarctic ice shelf and drifts out to sea. At the same time we face issues too ridiculous to comprehend: In South America tourists twice kill rare baby dolphins that washed ashore, suffocating them in a frenzy of selfies; Politics resembles sporting events; People still starve to death while others can order any meat they desire. As a species our footprint is perilously unsustainable yet we live in a state of denial about the outlook for our planet and our place on it. From this primordial soup of angst and helplessness I woke up one morning and this movie poured out of me.
Climate change. Overpopulation. Income inequality. All very familiar themes to 2017-era movie goers. Aronofsky’s comments give “mother!” context. It also may explain why Lawrence signed on.
The Oscar winner is increasingly strident in her political views. Most recently the progressive star clumsily tied the recent hurricanes to President Donald Trump’s November election. She later claimed she was taken out of context.
“mother!” opens nationwide Sept. 15.