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Movie Review: Darren Aronofsky's 'Mother!'


He made "Black Swan" and "Requiem For A Dream." Now Director Darren Aronofsky has a new movie out tomorrow called "Mother." It is a horror, thriller. And it's got some big names in there - Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris. Joining us from Chicago to talk about the film is Angelica Jade Bastien. She is a staff writer at Vulture, the entertainment news website. And even more relevant, she is a self-proclaimed horror buff. So with that welcome, Angelica.

ANGELICA JADE BASTIEN: Hello. Thank you for having me.

KELLY: So they have kept "Mother!" under pretty tight wrap leading up to the release. But I gather that the story opens with a couple - this would be Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. There at this very remote home. And one night there's a knock at the door. Without giving away the twist, can you tell us who's knocking? What happens?

BASTIEN: So the first knock comes from Ed Harris, who is a surgeon, who stumbled upon the home by happenstance, at least that's what he tells Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence, and slowly but surely disrupts their lives. And his wife is played by Michelle Pfeiffer who comes soon after. Chaos ensues.

KELLY: Chaos ensues. I read one review that is describing the movie, and it's using terms like peak insanity.

BASTIEN: Oh, that's accurate. So the...

KELLY: (Laughter) OK.

BASTIEN: You know, I don't want to spoil people. But the first half of the movie and the second half of the movie are very different beasts. So the first half really does focus on this tightly-knit group of people and how they disrupt the life of Javier Bardem, who's a poet, and Jennifer Lawrence, who is just a wife.

KELLY: Just a wife? Wow. That's...

BASTIEN: Oh, I mean, I think she is credited in the credits as just mother. No one really has names. They're just sort of archetypes. Just keep that in mind going into the movie. Do not expect reality. Expect the surreal and the bonkers. I had a fun time watching it. I'm still digesting it.

There's a lot going on. The second half of the movie includes so many horrific incidents. I don't even know how to warn people about that. So if you're uncomfortable with violence, then I would maybe steer clear of the film.

KELLY: "Mother!" is out tomorrow. Meanwhile, there's another horror movie that's already dominating the box office. This is the remake of "It," the Stephen King novel of that name. There was a film version before. This is the remake. What's your take on this one?


KELLY: Trash?

BASTIEN: (Laughter) You know?

KELLY: Not sold.

BASTIEN: No. I think it doesn't take advantage of a very rich story or the fact that it's changing the time period, which now it's in the 1980s. This is a time when "Unsolved Mysteries" was on screen, and people were very, very aware of serial killers. Children would not just be going towards a clown who's talking to them from the sewer.

So you really have to sort of reassess your story if you're going to take it - have it take place in a completely different time period, which has different constraints and different handling of race and homophobia and various aspects of the novel that actually aren't touched upon.

But the kid actors are very well cast. They're very amazing. And Beverly played by Sophia Lillis is pretty much the stand out. I can't wait to see what she does with her career.

KELLY: All right. So if we have the choice of one or the other, go see "Mother," sounds like she wrote.

BASTIEN: Definitely. I would choose "Mother."

KELLY: Angelica, thank you.

BASTIEN: You're very welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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