Wow, Mother! is one of those films that will be talked about for years to come. It is unlike any film I have ever seen before. The horror/thriller film was written and directed by Darren Aronofsky and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Kristen Wiig. Mother (Lawrence) and her husband Him (Bardem) live a tranquil life at their country home. They are soon disrupted by the arrival of a mysterious couple, Man (Harris) and Woman (Pfeiffer). The film is one big biblical allegory and is filled with references which you may have missed. In this article, I will discuss seven of the references presented in the film.
Why only seven references you ask? Well, the number seven has been called the symbol of perfection and is very important in the Bible. Examples include Jacob’s seven years of service to his uncle Laban; Pharaoh’s seven fat oxen and seven lean ones; God resting on the seventh day; the seven days’ siege of Jericho; the seven churches, and many others, adequately prove the importance of this sacred number. Now, onto the references from the film.
(Beware as this will contain spoilers for Mother!)
7. God Takes Adam’s Rib (Genesis 2:21-23)
During the film, Him spends the evening speaking with Man and listening to his stories. Mother wakes up during the middle of the night noticing Him is not in bed with her. She hears Man coughing in the bathroom and finds Him consoling the man as he vomits in the toilet. She notices a scar on his back which Him quickly covers as he tells her to go back to bed. Man is supposed to represent Adam and the scar on his back is supposed to represent where God removed his rib to create Eve. After this happens Man’s wife, Woman, appears at the house the next morning.
6. Expelled From The Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6-24)
There’s a point in the film where Woman and Man become enamored with a crystal object that Him keeps in His study. Him explains to man what it is and how much it means to Him. Later, Woman sees the crystal and wants to hold it. Mother tells her no and to leave the room. While Mother is cleaning, Woman convinces Man to go into the room with her to see the crystal again. While holding the crystal she drops and shatters it. This upsets Mother and Him, leading to Him boarding up His study so they can never enter again. The crystal represents the forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve ate. Despite being given an explicit instruction not to. Thus they were banned from Paradise.
5. Cain Killing Abel & The Mark of Cain (Genesis 4:7-16)
After breaking the crystal, Man consults his wife, Woman, and has sex with her. That evening their two adult sons show up arguing over their father’s inheritance. As the argument escalates Older Brother (Domhnall Gleeson) kills Younger Brother (Brian Gleeson) with a doorknob. Him reprimands Older Brother for his actions and during a scuffle causes a small cut on Older Brother’s forehead. This, of course, represents the murder of Abel by his older brother Cain. The cut Older Brother receives from Him parallels the Mark placed on Cain by God so that he is not murdered by anyone who finds him.
4. The Great Flood (Genesis 7:11-8:14)
After Younger Brother’s funeral, Him invites Man and Woman to have their reception at His home. Man and Woman invite their extended family, who are of many different cultures, to come grieve with them. As more of their extended family continue to flood the house Mother becomes upset due to them not respecting her rules. Eventually, the extended family causes so much damage that the pipes burst causing the house to flood with water. Mother becomes upset at this outcome and Him makes everyone leave. The extended family alludes to the descendants of Adam and Eve who began to populate the Earth after the death of Abel. The pipes bursting and the house represents God destroying the earth with a great flood. Then when he forces everyone to leave is a metaphor for all the people of the Earth – minus Noah and his family, perishing in the flood.
3. Lucifer’s Fall from Grace (Revelation 12:7-12)
After expelling the guests from the house Him makes love to Mother. She wakes up the next morning realizing she is pregnant. At the same time, Him gets inspiration to write again upon hearing this revelation that He is having a son. He lets Mother read His manuscripts and soon gets a call from his publicist and editor. His poem eventually sells out of the first printing and people come from all over to see Him. Mother meets Him’s publisher (Kristen Wiig) who claims she was skeptical of Him’s relationship with Mother but sees her as a good inspiration. This is the part of the film where shit starts to get crazy! Him’s fans go crazy over His work and begin looting His home and disrespecting Mother. Eventually, we see Him’s publisher taking part in the madness. She starts fighting the editor and kills innocent people point blank with a gun. This is an allusion to Lucifer once being God’s most favored angel and falling from grace. Lucifer was not happy with God’s creation of the Earth and mankind. The publisher fighting the editor is similar to Lucifer fighting Michael before being expelled.
2. The Birth and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:32-56)
During the madness of her home being looted by Him’s crazy fans Mother goes into labor. Him removes the boards from his study so that Mother can be safe while she gives birth. The people bring gifts at hearing about the birth of Him’s son and want to see the boy. Mother refuses as she fears they will repeat the same cycle and destroy the baby as they destroyed the house. Eventually, she falls asleep and Him reveals the baby to His fans. Mother becomes frantic and demands her baby back. The people start by loving him, but just as Mother predicted the people eventually kill him and rip him to pieces. This officially breaks Mother’s heart, but Him says they must forgive them. The birth of Mother’s son is a clear representation of the birth of Jesus Christ. The gifts the people gave were like the gift the Three Wise Men brought to Bethlehem. Like the Mother’s baby, Jesus was too killed after the Lord gave him to the people.
1. The Apocalypse (2 Peter 3:10-12)
After the death of her son, Mother eventually fights back and starts killing people. Him becomes saddened as this is not how He intended it to be. Mother goes down to the furnace and ignites the oil that fuels it, burning the house and all of its inhabitants to a crisp. This is a reference to the biblical apocalypse. God promised to Noah after the great flood that he would never again destroy the Earth with water. 2 Peter 3:10-12 states that the Lord will destroy the earth again describing it as “elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” The house going up in flames represents said intense heat.
Bonus. Eternal Recurrence (2 Peter 3:13)
Eternal recurrence is the concept that the universe and all existence and energy has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time or space. In the film, Him survives the flames and apologizes to Mother. He then removes her heart and forms it into a new crystal. This new crystal creates a new home and a new Mother to take care of it. While the film alludes to Him having done this multiple times, as the film opens with a similar scene, there is no reference of eternal recurrence. However, the bible does state that God will create a new Heaven and a new Earth where righteousness dwells.
Wow, I’m sure you’re thinking “That was a lot!” Okay, I know that was technically eight references – but only seven of them were numbered. I recommend watching Mother! again to see if you can spot the many other biblical allusions that Darren Aronofsky squeezed in.
What are your thoughts on Darren Aronofsky’s psychological horror/thriller? Leave your thoughts below.