The Meaning Of 'Mother!'s Leading Man Will Leave You Shaken To The Core

Confounding and unsettling audiences since its release, mother! has sent shockwaves through audiences. With actors Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem leading the charge, mother! is a bloody and frightening tale that attempts to make an allegorical tale about man and his relationship with nature and God. Warning: spoilers ahead. Part of recognizing those biblical ties comes from deciphering what Bardem's mother! character represents. The meaning of who the man, known as Him, is and his presence is part of the key to unlocking this intense film.

In Mother!, happy couple Mother and Him live together in a remote countryside home, in bliss in their solitude. Him is a poet, who's experiencing writer's block; his ability to create has faltered. Cue the arrival of two unannounced guests, admirers of Him who very quickly overstay their welcome. Their arrival opens the floodgates for more visitors to turn up, wherein an outbreak of violence occurs among the visitors and against Mother.

There's little doubt that Mother! is a biblical allegory where Him is meant to symbolize God incarnate and Mother is Mother Earth. As a poet and literal creator, seeing Him as a symbol for God is not difficult. Furthermore, the fact that he is wed to Mother, a stand-in for Mother Nature, and that together they create and conceive of a son (symbolist of Jesus Christ) only cements the notion that Him represents God.

It's also clear in the film the Him is God in his behavior. Quite similar to the God of the Old Testament, Him is a creator (in Mother! a poet, in the Bible, a creator of the universe) and he's a powerful force. As the film progresses, it's clear that Him has his own designs, that he's secretive and irascible, and he does things without consulting Mother; she is at his mercy. This falls in line with the general understanding of the Christian and Hebrew depictions of God you may be familiar with as a figure who was in need of constant supplication so that his temper would not cause destruction upon humanity.

Mother! also makes it evident that Him is God if only through the simple act of being worshipped and loved by the visitors to the house. Mother is unnerved by the fact that the strange visitors in her house all carry the same photo of Him, even though it's not clear how they all have the same portrait of him. The visitors are in awe of his work and they are ferociously, and even murderously, protective of him. They worship him in a way that is extremely unsettling in the context of Mother!, but when mapped onto the way humans have shown their own faith in the deities they worship, it scans quite neatly.

Finally, the film's argument that Him is God comes through in the relationship between he and Mother. The union of creative and nurturing forces through Him and Mother becomes clear as Him's creative block is loosened after spending the night with his wife (ostensibly, her nurturing gifts relieve him of his writer's block). The idea that Him, as God, draws creativity to further create more great works by taking from Mother Nature — and thus, that God demands something of those who love and follow him for him to do his good work — is cemented in Mother!

There is no doubt that Mother! will in some way leave you feeling, at the least, quite queasy, and at most, profoundly shaken. It's an intense film that depicts, in violent fashion, man's own allegorical understanding of his relationship to nature and God.