November 24, 2017 | Rome, Italy | °C
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Animated

Sing

Here's a sweet tearjerker about animated vaudevillians trying to restore a theater.

Drama

Fences

Denzel Washington performs spectacularly in the film version of August Wilson's play.

Toni Erdmann

Maren Ade's "Toni Erdmann" has some comic genes, but something far more serious is going on here.

Baby Driver

Writer-director Edgar Wright's musical caper has bright, shining moments, but they fade.

Science Fiction

Arrival

Denis Villeneuve's alien landing movie tries hard to be hyper-intelligent, but ends up falling flat.


Date: 2017
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Javier Bardem, Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris

Mother!

The frustrated, blocked writer has been at the center of some excellent films, including "Sunset Boulevard" (1950, featuring a naive William Holden) and "The Shining" (1980, with an insane Jack Nicholson). The writer in "Mother!", a needy, self-consumed, nameless Javier Bardem, yearns to recapture the Famous Poet status he once had.

Seeking stimulation, intense experience, and ultimately adulation of the highest order, he invites a series of strangers into his isolated (it lacks even a driveway) Victorian mansion, much to the chagrin of his much younger, devoted, overwhelmed, socially isolated, and soon-to-be pregnant wife (Mother, played by Jennifer Lawrence).

Things get out of hand, first in small ways —guests/invaders, among them a wonderfully irritating Michelle Pfeiffer, violate the couple's space and privacy and call their relationship into question — then on an epic scale that some viewers will find excessive, others gross and offensive.

Religious symbolism abounds: Cain and Abel, the virgin birth, the stigmata, and a horrific communion. "Rosemary's Baby" meets "Apocalypse Now."

Reviewed by: William Graebner and Dianne Bennett
Day and Boarding International High School in the Heart of Rome

Everything you need to know about visiting or moving to Tuscany, Italy.