By far, the weirdest thing about this film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky is the notion that someone actually believed it could be turned into a mainstream hit a la Aronofsky’s Black Swan. What put me off watching it in the cinema however wasn’t the polarized reaction and stories of the audience members demanding refunds, but the mention of the dreaded hand-held camera in one of the reviews. I made the right call to avoid nausea at the cinema, but the big screen and darkened isolation from the outside world would undoubtedly have been a better place to fully appreciate the movie’s unique claustrophobic insanity. As opposed to my living room with my Russian neighbours talking in the background.
There’s no point talking about mother! without mentioning what it’s really about, so spoilers ahead.
This movie copped a massive backlash upon its release last year, and in all honesty it was practically asking for it, with its grossly misleading trailers and advertising which treated its premise as a twist and in the end made some viewers feel like they received a pretty glittery gift box with a dead puppy inside.
Here’s what the bullshit summary on my DVD rental reads like:
Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are two passengers onboard a spaceship transporting them to a new life on another planet. The trip takes a deadly turn when their hibernation pods mysteriously wake them 90 years before they reach their destination. As Jim and Aurora try to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction… only to be threatened by the imminent collapse of the ship and the discovery of the truth behind why they woke up.
Here’s what actually happens in the film (spoilers ahead):
Bleak and gritty drama set in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, featuring an outstanding breakout performance by the pre-Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence that actually deserved to win an Oscar (don’t get me wrong, she was good in Silver Linings Playbook, but I always thought that her win that year was about Hollywood crowning its new big bright star more than anything else).
I watched this movie on my flight from Singapore to Hanoi. International flights are usually a chance for me to catch up with the movies I never bothered to see at the cinema and I often end up watching a whole load of rubbish. Joy isn’t quite rubbish, but it’s not particularly good either. It’s a third straight collaboration between David O. Russell and his Oscar-winning muse Jennifer Lawrence, and it’s easily the weakest of the three. Though ultimately forgettable, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle at least entertained me while I watched them, but Joy just never gets off the ground.