Take superhero movies, for example. “Guardians of the Galaxy” had a handsome wisecracking hero, a smartass talking raccoon and an adorable baby tree creature, which also talks (albeit with a limited vocabulary). It pretty much markets itself. Or consider “Wonder Woman,” which had a beautiful, powerful heroine and a wave of nostalgia from people who fondly remembered the 1970’s TV show. You know immediately what the movie is about, and why you should (or perhaps shouldn’t) want to see it.
And then, there are films like “mother!”
I’ve watched the trailer, and I couldn’t tell you exactly what it is about to save my life. As Eric Kohn of IndieWire writes, the movie is “a bracing visceral experience about a married couple (Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence) and the unexpected visitors who arrive at their remote country home.”
Kohn describes “mother!” as an “abstract psychological thriller,” and while that does come across in the trailer, buzz suggests that there’s much more to the film. Paramount is amping up the hype level by mailing bloody heart-shaped cakes to journalists (I’m glad I wasn’t on that press list), and director Darren Aronofsky signed off on a scavenger hunt to add to the mystique.
Beyond that, what is going to happen is a total mystery to me, and that’s exactly how the studio wants moviegoers to feel. The film’s Twitter account definitely gets the creepy feel across, but doesn’t shed a lot of light on the plot. (Unless the whole movie is about Jennifer Lawrence’s character cutting out her own heart. In that case, it is definitely on target.)
Kudos to Paramount for creating a mystique for “mother!” and clueing me in that I’m probably not the right audience for this movie. Talking raccoons are definitely more my speed.