In this section of our Colossus Movie Guide for Mother!, we look at important motifs that help us understand the film.
- Jennifer Lawrence – Mother
- Javier Bardem – Him
- Ed Harris – Man
- Michelle Pfeiffer – Woman
- Brian Gleeson – Younger Brother
- Domhnall Gleeson – Oldest Son
- Jovan Adepo – Cupbearer
- Emily Hampshire – Fool
- Chris Gartin – Adulterer
- Stephen McHattie – Zealot
- Kristen Wiig – Herald
- Amanda Warren – Healer
- Laurence Leboeuf – Maiden
- Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse – Foremother
- Darren Aronofsky – Writer and director
Important motifs in Mother!
Creation and Destruction
This motif is central to Mother! and is embodied in the cyclical nature of the film. The movie begins with a burned house being restored and ends with the house being destroyed and the cycle starting anew. This cycle represents the balance of creation and destruction in the universe, as well as humanity’s role in this balance. The birth and death of the baby in the film further emphasize this motif, as does the shattering and reformation of the crystal.
Invasion of Privacy
Throughout the film, Mother’s personal space and sanctuary are repeatedly invaded by uninvited guests. This motif serves as a metaphor for the way humanity encroaches on and exploits the Earth’s resources without regard for the consequences. For example, when Man and Woman break the crystal in the forbidden room, their actions mirror the biblical story of Adam and Eve, where the first humans transgressed God’s command and brought suffering upon themselves and the world.
The theme of motherhood is embodied by Jennifer Lawrence’s character, who represents both a literal mother figure and the personification of Mother Earth. Her desire to protect her home and the life within it reflects the nurturing aspect of motherhood. The film explores the emotional turmoil that comes with being a mother, such as when Mother’s baby is taken from her and subsequently killed by the frenzied crowd, illustrating the vulnerability of creation and the deep pain associated with loss.
The Artist’s Ego
Javier Bardem’s character, Him, symbolizes the artist and his creative process. Throughout the film, his obsession with adoration and validation from others leads to the eventual destruction of his world. This motif highlights the consequences of unchecked ego and the dark side of creativity. The sacrifice of the baby, which is consumed by the crowd seeking a piece of the artist’s creation, is a powerful example of the destructiveness of the artist’s ego.
Mother! is rife with biblical references, and these allusions serve as a foundation for the film’s allegorical narrative. Characters such as Man and Woman (Adam and Eve), their sons (Cain and Abel), and the setting of the house (the Garden of Eden) tie the story to biblical themes of creation, fall, and redemption. The flood-like scene during the chaotic party and the final apocalyptic destruction of the house further connect the film to biblical narratives and underscore the notion of humanity’s repeated transgressions and their consequences.
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