Now, I consider myself to be an intelligent person and I have had this point validated on more than one occasion, but this movie, I have to say, completely passed me by.
It’s taken me a while to post this (re)view because, quite frankly, I have no words….well, almost none!
Bizarre, strange, ridiculous, disconnected, madness, appalling…….are all words I have attached to this movie which, it has to be said, has a rather stellar cast – including the lovely Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris. To be honest, I expected more, so much more.
I guess you had to be high on illegal substances (or the film-makers were when they made it!) to understand this movie. I do not stand alone in this stance, I can assure you.
Having spent several days pondering what Darren Aronofsky could possibly have been trying to tell us in this movie, here, for what its worth, is my opinion.
For me, the movie was dealing with perfection and obsession. Bardem (we are never told any of their names) is a poet who has written one phenomenal collection of poems and now has lost his mojo. He married Lawrence, a woman half his age, to be his muse, to inspire him to write again. People start to turn up at their home (Pfeiffer and Harris); people who are crazed fans. Although Lawrence shuns them, Bardem is revelling in their adoration. Following an incident with their two sons though, Pfeiffer and Harris disappear, never to be seen again.
Lawrence and Bardem fight about his inability to make love to her. Needless to say this culminates in them having sex (yawn) and miraculously she gets pregnant (as if). This is the catalyst for him to write again.
Their peaceful world is shattered near the end of her pregnancy, once he has submitted his new works to his publisher. Hundreds and hundreds of people start arriving to pay homage to Bardem and he laps it up, despite Lawrence asking him to tell them to leave. This is where the movie turns into absolute chaos and becomes ridiculous.
As a writer, it is important to constantly have that inspiration to write and if it is lost, it is like you have lost a limb. Fame is also craved by many, but once you have it, it turns into something that takes over your life. I think this is clear from the movie.
The perfection element came into my mind due to the start of the movie, when the house in which they live is resurrected due to a glass-like stone found in the burning embers. It is almost like groundhog day, as Bardem seeks to get the perfect balance between his adoring fans and a wife who is willing to accept that he belongs to everyone, not just her. This is illustrated at the end of the movie, when Lawrence burns the house down and Bardem breaks out the glass-like stone from her heart, triggering the resurrection of the house, but with a different woman as his wife. I foresee a repeat of this until he reaches that state of Utopia he craves.
As I say, this is just my view of what the movie could have been dealing with. I may very well be completely wrong, but do I care? No.
If you’re thinking of going, don’t bother. Save your money for a glass of wine or two as you’ll get far more out of them!