So “Fix It Jesus” is a new series I’m going to be doing sporadically. Where I apply my imagination and problem solving skills to a movie or TV series or game and write out how I would change the plot to make it less offensive, or less or just less bad.
In this first post we’re gonna talk about Mother!
Now I did not see Mother! because I love myself but I did read Bitch Magazine’s wonderful and informative review. Now the main problems I see are the same old suffering woman trope and the idea that exploring that means relying on it even more. She suffers and suffers and dies which…no thank you. The movie also suffers from what I saw as a problem in one of Aronofsky’s previous films – Black Swan. Aronofsky loves metaphor, which is fine, that’s great. I love a metaphor myself but he piles them on like some self-important 90s film student who doesn’t know when to stop or something James Franco would make today.
In Mother! he also mixes metaphors and mythologies very weirdly. Mother Nature gives birth to Jesus? All the power is given to the man and she only seeks to serve him until others intervene? WTF is that?
FIX IT JESUS!
I would erase all that shit about Adam & Eve and Cain & Abel stuff which just serves to overstuff the narrative. We keep “Him” – and give him a fucking name for God’s sake! Let’s say Bob. So Bob is a metaphor for some divine creative force. Then there’s Mother – except it’s super creepy for anyone but someone’s child to call them Mother unless it’s a formal title. So let’s just name her Jackie.
The basic beginning is the same. Bob and Jackie are living alone in an isolated house where he is obsessed with creating a singular poem and she is still obsessed with the house. Except that it’s framed as all she has to do and does not derive true pleasure from it. By excluding any other people in the lead in it becomes more of a creepy horror narrative about the labor women do to support mediocre men who never appreciate it. We see Jackie wanting to break away from this situation and from Bob but she is trapped by their isolation and her lack of any support. The psychological horror of her increasingly small world is shown in detail as it drives her mad. When she reaches her breaking point and decides she has to leave or die she discovers she’s pregnant which serves to isolate and trap her further. She stays trapped by the child she never wanted and by Bob’s overbearing personality and increasing neediness as he reverts to a more and more child-like state.
Jackie begins to carve the house into a nest, destroying many of the things that Bob enjoys about it. When Jackie finally gives birth it’s to a multitude of children of different ethnicities and genders and ability-levels meant to represent the emergence of humanity as a whole. It is these children, not the party guests which begin to destroy the house. They enslave one another and kill one another. The visuals of children performing these acts are shocking and horrifying to the viewer which serve to underscore the horror of humanity and its disgust with itself. Seeing all this Jackie falls into a deep depression which Bob of course ignores as he sees nothing wrong with their children and increases his demands on her. Finally Jackie cannot take it anymore. She starts to hunt down and kill the children in horrible ways but they continue to raise up from the dead and in fact seem to multiply. They haunt her and hurt her in various ways. Finally Jackie realizes there is only option. She gathers Bob and all the children in one room – Bob’s private work study, which she’s never been allowed into. She then sets the house on fire, fighting and keeping them all in there while they all burn.
After the conflagration there is only Jackie, burnt and hurt but alive and surrounded by the charred skeletons of Bob and their children. The ground around her is also burnt to blackness but as the audio focuses on her strained breathing another sound starts to break through the sound of growth. Next to Jackie’s head a flower begins to push itself from the ground she struggles and turns her head and as the black skin flakes off to reveal healthy brown skin (did I mention in my version Gabby is played by Gabourey Sidibe?) and she sees the flower. The camera zooms out as plant life begins to grown around her and slowly fades out on Jackie alone, surrounded by a beautiful garden, her laughter the last sound we hear.
There it is – my take on Mother!