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Arts | By Marcus Berkmann | November issue

Marcus Berkmann reviews Mother!

I’m afraid that mother! (18) is deranged. Whether it’s good deranged or bad deranged is a matter of debate, but its barminess is not.  It’s essentially a high-budget, exquisitely turned nightmare. You will walk out of it drained, and either thrilled by its extraordinary boldness, or angry to the point of medical intervention. I think I was all three. We begin in a strange octagonal house in the middle of a computer-generated cornfield, a house we shall never leave. Jennifer Lawrence is the young wife of a blocked writer, Javier Bardem, who is so creative he writes only on parchment, with scratchy noises. The point-of-view is utterly Jennifer’s, though: the camera follows her around in huge close-up throughout the film. Who is she? Where has she come from? We don’t know. But we do know that the house burned down at some point, and was somehow regenerated by a curious...

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