SPOILER ALERT! If you read any further, you will know way more about Mother! than you might want to.
Going into Darren Aronofsky's latest mind-f*ck, Mother!, there's a lot to uncover. After all, the specifics of the film have been completely shrouded in mystery for months. But now that it's finally arrived for public consumption, the secret is out. By the time we reach the perplexing ending, the bulk of the mystery is solved: Mother! is an allegory for how we treat this gracious planet that we inhabit, and the horrifying damage we do.
But this film is more than just a conservationist's plea to the scum of the human race. It's basically a retelling of the Bible with a strong focus on the Book of Genesis and the other chapters at the beginning of the Old Testament. Mother! presents a pretty rattling tale of mankind that's quite modern, hard to detect (at first), and deeply disturbing. By the time the credits roll and that haunting end song plays, everything clicks into place. Let's uncover the most striking biblical references buried in the plot.
1. Javier Bardem's "Him" Is God
As you find out by the end of the film, Javier Bardem plays Him, and he is the physical manifestation of God. His poetry is His word. He is the creator of this entire known universe. This is clear at the very beginning, when he puts that special crystal on that special stand. He exists before mother. The character has his study on the second floor, and he sleeps on the third floor with his wife. He's literally the man upstairs.
2. Jennifer Lawrence Is Mother Nature
As for Jennifer Lawrence, her performance as mother can be taken a few ways. She could be the Holy Spirit, which is part of the Holy Trinity. But she makes the most sense as "Mother Earth" or "Mother Nature." As Bardem's character says, she breathes life into the house. The house is a conduit for the entire known world. You can see how mother is connected to the house. She seems to listen to it. She seems to be a part of it.
3. The "Man" and the "Woman" Are Adam and Eve
Ed Harris simply plays a character called "Man," and it's obvious that he's the Bible's Adam. He immediately connects to Bardem's character, who shows Man the ways of the world. He shows him the Forbidden Fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, which is the crystal we see at the beginning of the film. He tells him not to touch it. The night before his wife's arrival, he's very sick. Mother spots a bruise on his flank, which Him covers up. This is the rib he has removed to create Eve.
Michelle Pfeiffer arrives as the "Woman," aka Eve. "Eve was mischievous," Aronofsky said while explaining the film. "And that's kind of where she started and sort of took it that way." Together in Mother!, the Man and Woman do not heed God's command. They touch the Forbidden Fruit and break it. They lose their innocence, just like Adam and Eve.
The fact that mother sees Man and Woman having sex after breaking the crystal is a direct correlation to the Book of Genesis. When Adam and Eve eat the Forbidden Fruit in the Bible, they experience their own sexual awakening.
4. The Bickering Brothers Are Cain and Abel
Amidst all the blooming madness, the two brothers appear, played by real-life siblings Domhnall and Brian Gleeson. They represent Cain and Abel, and they're arguing over their father's will. Just like in the Bible, the jealous older brother murders his younger brother.
5. The Burst Water Pipe Is a Symbol For the Great Flood
In the wake of the younger brother's death, mother's house fills with more people. They are rude and disrespectful. She tries to get them to listen to her, but they ignore her. The majority of the tension surrounds a sink that hasn't properly been secured to the wall. She keeps telling visitors not to sit on it, and eventually, it collapses. A pipe breaks. Water floods into the house. Him finally makes everyone leave.
In a nod to the story of Noah's Ark and the Great Flood, mother tells Him that she will "take care of the Apocalypse" caused by his guests.
6. The "God" Character Writes the New Testament, or the Whole Bible
Mother finally gets pregnant thanks to a passionate night with Him. Suddenly, an idea comes to Him, and he starts writing feverishly. This is, presumably, the new word of God. This may be the Bible in its entirety. It's supposedly a piece of work so beautiful and so perfect, it's entirely unmatched. This seems to be a symbol for the word of God. This launches us into the final chaos of the story.
In this context, Him's publicist (played by Kristen Wiig) may be the prophet. It's her job to receive the word of God and to spread his gospel to the other humans of the world.
7. We Witness Both the Birth and Death of Christ
The world (or, in this case, the house) fills up again, and this time, the chaos is worse. We see the full spectrum of the dark side of man. There are revelers, false prophets, and thieves. There are terrifying wars and raids and executions. There are cults and extremists. People are imprisoned. Explosions and deaths and horrors happen all around. Eventually, mother gets rescued by Him and taken to the study. She gives birth to a baby boy.
Mother is completely unwilling to surrender her child to Him. She does not want to share her son with all the others. But they want to see the son. When mother falls asleep, Bardem's character steals the baby and delivers it to his people. Mother is horrified. The people almost instantly kill the son and tear him apart. They consume him. The son must represent Christ, who was ultimately sacrificed for the sins of man. The fact that all the people eat him is further proof: it's a symbol for communion, when churchgoers consume the body (bread) and blood (wine) of Christ.
8. The Final Explosion of the House Is the Apocalypse
Once she loses her son, mother goes ballistic, lashing out at those who have taken her baby away. This ties into Jennifer Lawrence's recent quotes about Mother Nature's rage. These people have taken everything from her, and she's trying to fight back. Their response is to throw her to the ground and beat her to death. Once Bardem's character comes to the rescue again, it's clear mother has had enough. Mother goes down to the basement and sets the house on fire. It seems like the apocalypse: mother literally unleashes hellfire on all the living, and nothing remains except for a scorched Earth.
9. The Crazy Ending Is the Rebirth of God's World
There are only two survivors of the apocalypse: mother and Him. She gives Him the only thing she has left: her heart. With this, the world can begin again. In addition to establishing Him as the Creator in this context, it also alludes to the omniscience of God. The fact that time does not exist for Him solidifies his role above all others.