Film Analysis: mother!

Film Title: mother!
Director:Darron Aronofsky
Country: US
Genre: Horror
1. Who is the protagonist?mother
2. Who is the antagonist?Him, guests in house
3. What is the conflict?Unwanted guests come into mother’s house and it leads to chaos
4. What is the theme or central, unifying concept? (summarize in one or two words)God and the earth
5. How is the story told (linear, with flashbacks, flash-forwards, at regular intervals)Linear but with circular timeline
6. What “happens” in the plot (Brief description)?mother and her husband, unnamed and called Him, live a peaceful existence in a large house in the middle of nowhere. Unwanted guests appear and cause the house and mother’s life to devolve into chaos. The movie includes many biblical themes and characters that represent Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, and Jesus.
7. How does the film influence particular reactions on the part of viewers (sound, editing,
characterization, camera movement, etc.)?Why does the film encourage such
The film influences particular reactions by editing the film to increase suspense, with close up shots and long pauses between the action. The film also encourages these reactions by having certain “scary” noises.
8. Is the setting realistic or stylized?What atmosphere does the setting suggest? Do particular objects or settings serve symbolic functions?The setting is realistic, it’s probably a real house and even if it isn’t it definitely could be. The atmosphere suggests tranquility devolving into chaos. The house itself represents the universe.
9. How are the characters costumed and made-up? What does their clothing or makeup reveal about their social standing, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or age? How do
costume and makeup convey character?
mother is clothed and made up very simply. This shows that mother lives a minimalistic life which conveys her uncomplicated demeanor.
10. How does the lighting design shape our perception of character, space, or mood?The dark and shadowy lighting shows some of the hidden secrets that the house harbors.
11. How do camera angles and camera movements shape our view of characters or spaces? What do you see cinematically?Camera movements and closeups of mother help to increase our emotions and empathize with mother.
12. What is the music’s purpose in the film? How does it direct our attention within the
image? How does it shape our interpretation of the image? What stands out about the music?
There is no music. There was a score written but Aronofsky decided that the film was better without.
13. How might industrial, social, and economic factors have influenced the film?Describe how this film influences or connects to a culture?The film is somewhat void of culture because it doesn’t exist in a specific timeline, but it has elements from many eras among the different scenes and characters.
14. Give an example of what a film critic had to say about this film. Use credible sources and cite sourcesExample: “The Shawshank Redemption Movie Review (1994) | Roger Ebert.” All
Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2015.
“By all means, go to “mother!” and enjoy its roller-coaster-of-weird exhibitionism. But be afraid, very afraid, only if you’re hoping to see a movie that’s as honestly disquieting as it is showy.” – Owen Gleiberman
15. Select one scene no longer than 5 minutes that represents well the whole film and shows relevant cinematic elements.Write a one-sentence description of the scene and record the time of the scene. Example, from 1:05:00 to 1:10:00.Explain why you chose this scene.1:20:00 – 1:25:00, this movie represents the whole film very well. It is the beginning of the third act in which the whole house and mother’s whole world devolves into chaos. “the Poet’s” book is published and droves of people begin coming into the house, many of them pulling pieces of the wall to “prove that they were there”.
16. In the selected scene: write a sentence for each of the elements below to justify why this scene best represents the film:
a. Screenwriting:Minimal writing, strangers saying strange things
b. Sound Design:Mother sounding desperate and scared, no one listening to her, and increasingly loud din in the background
c. Camera Movements/Angles:Closeups and sweeping shots frequent throughout the movie
d. Light Setup:Dark and shadowy
e. Soundtrack/Score:Very quiet movie
18. What’s the socio-cultural context of this film?Isolated world, scenes turned into warzones and chaos

This worksheet was developed with ideas from many IB Film teachers, thus should remain in the Creative Commons

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