mother! premieres soon and we have almost no information about the plot, save for a few scant details around the Internet and burgeoning reviews that are so vague that you wonder why they bother to give a plot synopsis at all.

And the lack of information so far has been all intentional. The marketing for mother! has been intentionally skimpy on the details, but that hasn’t stopped it from stirring up social media with speculations and discussions on what it could be about.

Here’s what we know:

  • It’s a horror film
  • Jennifer Lawrence plays the eponymous “mother”, Grace*
  • Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem play a couple in the film (Grace and Eli*)
  • They live in an isolated countryside home
  • A “mysterious couple” played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris appear to wreak havoc
  • Domnhall Gleeson and Brian Gleeson play the sons of the “mysterious couple”
  • Nobody seems to have names besides Grace and Eli, only titles/roles such as “Herald” (Kristen Wiig) or Cupbearer (Jovan Adepo)


So what could it be about? The Popping Post bought a heavily discounted crystal ball to gaze into, and here’s what it told us…


1. Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris play the relatives of either Grace (Jennifer Lawrence) or Eli (Javier Bardem)

Jennifer Lawrence plays the Mother/Grace in mother! Credit: Indiewire

Jennifer Lawrence plays the Mother/Grace in mother! Credit: Indiewire

What other reason would Grace and Eli have for letting a strange couple into their house? What reason would anyone have for letting a mysterious couple into their house? The explanation is that Ed Harris’ character thinks that Grace and Eli’s house is a bed and breakfast, but come on. We’re betting that Ed Harris’ character (who’s credited as The Man as far as we know) reminds Grace or Eli of someone familiar to them – probably a relative.

According to early reviews, Michelle Pfeiffer arrives the day after Ed Harris, and she could turn out to be the mother of Grace or Eli (thus strengthening the “mother” theme), if not their auntie.

Later on, it appears that the two children of the “mysterious couple” also drop in (Domnhall Gleeson and Brian Gleeson). That’s four “mysterious people” that Grace and Eli are letting into their homes. If taken at face value, the plot sounds like some badly written sitcom, so we’re sure there’s some underlying reason for a couple letting so many people into their home.


2. There’s an incest plotline somewhere

A panicked Grace (Jennifer Lawrence) in mother! Credit: Indiewire

A panicked Grace (Jennifer Lawrence) in mother! Credit: Vox

The first thought that comes to mind is an Oedipal relationship, where someone has carnal relations with their mother in the film. There are so several possible permutations, like Michelle Pfeiffer’s character and her sons, or Grace and a possible son she never had.

Why do we think there’s definitely something Oedipal here? Remember how Grace and Eli are letting multiple strangers into their home, and how those strangers are likely to be related to them in some way?

If there’s family involved, it’s a horror movie, and the word “mother” is literally in the title… we’re betting that something creepy and disgusting happens, like incest.

Or it could be carnal relations between siblings, but it doesn’t tie so strongly to the “mother” theme.


3. Someone gets pregnant, discovers a pregnancy, or is tricked into thinking so

Grace (Jennifer Lawrence) looks on in mother! Credit: Indiewire

Grace (Jennifer Lawrence) looks out onto a neglected lawn in mother! Credit: Indiewire

It’s quite clear that mother! will have some strong themes about motherhood, or at the very least, heavy-handed metaphors. It’s likely that there’s a pregnancy involved in some way, and Jennifer Lawrence looks the right age to be possibly pregnant (we’d pick Michelle Pfeiffer, but that would be pushing it).

Either that, or someone gives birth horrifically during the film itself.

Or both.


4. Someone is secretly locked up in the house

Grace (Jennifer Lawrence) and Eli (Javier Bardem) in mother! Credit: Indiewire

Grace (Jennifer Lawrence) and Eli (Javier Bardem) in mother! Credit: Indiewire

This is another horror movie trope, but since Grace and Eli are ostensibly nice people, it makes sense that they could be hiding some prisoner in their attic. In fact, it would make for an excellent twist, since we’ve been led to believe that Grace and Eli are the protagonists in the film.

A reversal of fortunes would make it all the more horrifying, since the most “innocent” characters end up doing the most dastardly deeds.


5. There are Biblical references in the film

Jennifer Lawrence plays the Mother/Grace in mother! Credit: Indiewire

Jennifer Lawrence plays the Mother/Grace in mother! Credit: Indiewire

A review has already pointed out the strong connections that mother! has with the story of Noah and the Flood. But the biggest clues we have are the names of Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem’s characters – Grace and Eli. Both evoke Biblical imagery, and then you have characters who sound like they’re part of a religious cult, like Herald (Kristen Wiig), Cupbearer (Jovan Adepo), and Zealot (Stephen McHattie).

And check out the poster. Does it remind you of a certain legendary garden paradise from the dawn of creation?


mother! Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

mother! Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Darren Aronofksy’s mother! is a psychological horror film that promises to get under your skin in every possible way. It’s likely that there won’t be any supernatural elements in it – which makes it all the more disturbing. If you liked his previous films (like Black Swan), then mother! won’t disappoint.

And you can finally find out for yourself what it’s all about.

Credits: Indiewire, Vox, Golden Village Cinemas

*Addendum: While the movie’s early publicity material fielded Jennifer Lawrence’s and Javier Bardem’s roles as “Grace” and “Eli”, this has been changed to simply “Mother” and “Him” in the final film.