This article is about Darren Aronofsky's movie mother! and it's filled with spoilers. If you haven't seen the film and ever intend to we strongly suggest you do not continue reading.
Consider this your SPOILER WARNING.
Still here? Then we'll begin.
In the beginning there was a book, and the book was The Bible. Later, Darren Aronofsky made a horror movie called mother! based on large parts of that book and included multiple characters from it. Here's Aronofsky explaining his references (to prove we're not just making this up). And here are some further explanations of the film if you need some.
Here we break down the differences between mother! and The Bible.
1. Him and her
In mother! Him (played by Javier Bardem) is a creator, very much like that God fella in the book. Who many also refer to as Him with capital H.
In the book, God created the heavens and the earth but is not specifically married to mother earth (Jennifer Lawrence).
In the movie version God is not the best hubby a metaphorical goddess-woman could want. In fact he's kind of a selfish prick. Later her character becomes an amalgamation of mother earth and Mary, mother of Jesus – when God has sex with mother, aka the not-virgin Mary, she gives birth to God's son.
That all goes as well as you might expect, but we'll get to that in a bit.
2. Would you Adam and Eve it?
Ed Harris is unnamed, but he's Adam, while Michelle Pfeiffer is Eve. In both the book and film Adam creates Eve from one of his ribs (we see Harris bent over the loo with a big old rib wound and the next day Pfeiffer arrives).
In the book (or rather, in artists' interpretations) Eve wears greenery to cover her bits. In the movie, it's green lingerie.
However, Adam was created from the earth by God rather than just showing up on his doorstep one day, and we don't recall any mention of him suffering from a terminal illness (which would really have put a damper on that whole 'eternity in paradise' shtick). Nor is Eve an embittered alcoholic in the Bible.
3. Paradise lost
In the book Eden is a beautiful garden. In the film it's God's office.
Eve breaks God's special crystal she's been told not to touch (ie eats the forbidden fruit) and she and Adam are banished from the office, which is walled up with wooden boards in lieu of an angel with a flaming sword.
4. Willing and Abel
The brothers Cain and Abel have walk-on parts in the movie, played by real-life brothers Domhnall and Brian Gleeson. Cain kills Abel because he is envious of his brother, and is then cast out into the wilderness.
The older brother even acquires a "mark of Cain" in the form of a big wound on his forehead before he buggers off. It was their father's will rather than a sacrificial sheep that was the catalyst of their argument on screen, though we suppose Adam might have left Abel all his livestock.
5. Bloody Hell
Abel's blood – in the book, he's the first human ever to die – opens up the gates of hell to mother! in the form of a vagina-like hole in the floorboards. This is not in the Good Book.
In the film, Hell is a slightly dingy cellar with a furnace and some oil. Sometimes there's a plague of frog (just one frog), sometimes the river Nile (aka the ceiling) runs with blood and sometimes the room is plunged into darkness, just like Pharaoh's kingdom.
6. The flood
In the book, seeing that the world is full of sin, God decides to reboot the entire Earth with a flood. In the movie the flood happens when annoying guests at Abel's funeral repeatedly bounce on the sink despite being asked not to, which is one of the cardinal sins of houseguestery.
The house is flooded and the sinful funeral guests are all washed away, returning the house (the Earth) to a peaceful state. There's no ark though, and a general dearth of animals two-by-two or otherwise. Like we say, just the one frog.
7. Jesus H Christ
After the flood, God and mother! have sex, and she becomes pregnant with Jesus while he goes off and writes a poem, which is basically the commandments and/or the word of god.
A short time after his birth, mother's baby (aka Jesus) is offered up by God to the suffering masses who have congregated in the house to worship Him, just like in the Bible. This Jesus lasts about 30 seconds rather than 30-odd years among mankind before his untimely death.
"His death can't be for nothing, we must find a way to forgive them" says Him – echoing the idea that Jesus died for our sins – while the crowd eat the baby's flesh in a grisly, literal take on the Holy Communion.
8. Holy Moses
Kristen Wiig plays God's publicist, aka Moses (her character doesn't have a name, but we've been calling her Maureen 'Mo' Zez). God lets her read the poem ahead of everyone else and it's she who wants to frame and memorialise the original draft of the poem.
Unlike in the book, though, Moses becomes a tyrannical killer assassinating unruly disciples by shooting them in the head point blank in groups of six. And they hadn't even gotten around to worshipping a golden calf.
9. John the Baptist
That guy with the beard – the worshippy ringleader played by Stephen McHattie – he's John the Baptist. He rounds up the multiple disciples, first baptises god (with that smudge of ink on his head) and then proceeds to baptise the followers.
We didn't spot a Salome stand-in demanding his head, but in the chaos at the end of the movie, who knows what decapitations were going on in the background?
10. The masses
The crowds of uninvited guests, worshippers, revellers and general bastards who completely ruin everything by destroying the world aren't given names as such (nor is anyone other than mother and Him) instead they're given functions. A selection includes:
Philanderer, Fool, Thief, Idler, Adulterer, Defiler, Lingerer and Pisser. We're not sure of the details but we reckon there's got to be plenty of them in the novelisation too.
mother! is in cinemas now. The Bible is available from all good bookshops.
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