Matthew Libatique

Jennifer Lawrence endures the hell of other people in Darren Aronofsky's darkly exhilarating 'mother!'

Jennifer Lawrence endures the hell of other people in Darren Aronofsky's darkly exhilarating 'mother!'

There’s a moment early on in “mother!,” a thrilling descent into house-of-horrors madness from the writer-director Darren Aronofsky, that suggests the proverbial calm before the storm. A lovely young housewife (Jennifer Lawrence), not sure which color to paint her living room, decides to consult the house itself on the matter. As she places her hands against the wall, the camera zooms through layers of plaster to locate what appears to be a heart beating within — a ludicrous image that nonetheless speaks to the profound connection the woman feels with her home, as if she were its protector rather than the other way around.

It — and she — will certainly need protecting. You’ve...

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