The Breakdown: Mother vs. Rosemary

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The Breakdown: Mother vs. Rosemary
Images sourced by Google. Illustration by Travis Hajenga & Sean Minton

By Sean Minton

After the release of “Mother!” (2017) directed by Darren Aronofsky, many have speculated that they have seen a film too similar to Aronofsky’s, “Rosemary’s Baby,” (1968) directed by Roman Polanski.

Critics accuse Aronofsky of plagiarism stating that the films are identical. Even one of the movie posters featuring “Mother!” looks as if someone copied and pasted the same format as Polanski’s film. However, the plots are not quite the same. “Mother!” is the opposite with the storyline’s conclusion; however, the characters in the film mirror those in “Rosemary’s Baby.”

The 1968 film stars Rosemary, played by Mia Farrow, a young woman who wants to move into a new house and start a family with Guy, played by John Cassavetes. She is introduced to the supernatural when she has a dream of the Devil raping her.

After the dream, Rosemary becomes pregnant by what she believes to be Guy’s baby, but her neighbors and Guy begin to act suspicious. Throughout the film, the viewers watch Rosemary uncover the mysteries about her neighbors being in a cult. She believes that everyone surrounding her wants to kill her baby.

Rosemary being belittled, then insane, as she does not start out that way. The film builds up a sense of madness as the audience watches Rosemary go insane from no one listening to her and belittling her. Guy cares about himself rather than the well-being of his pregnant wife.

Rosemary is told she is crazy from the start, but everything begins to piece together, showing otherwise. In the end, Rosemary was right about the cult and her dream about the Devil was real. Her baby is Satan’s child and everyone, including Guy, was in on it.

Audience members are lelt with dread after Rosemary succumbs to the evil surrounding her. Viewers want Rosemary to get her happy ending, but are left with her acquiescing.

The film is a classic, so it does not surprise many that it would have references in other films, but not as abundant as in “Mother!”

The 2017 film stars Mother, played by Jennifer Lawrence, a selfless woman remodeling a house in which she hopes to have children in. She is married to Him, played by Javier Bardem, a selfish writer who focuses more on his work than on his wife.

Two fanatics arrive unannounced wanting to see Him’s work. Him invites them in without Mother’s say and soon the invaders disrespect Mother by ignoring her house rules and being rude toward her as if this were their home and not Mother’s.

Viewers are left confused as to why Mother would let people be rude and intrude. Over time, the strangers invite several people over, destroying everything Mother has worked on to the point she is angered and scares everyone away.

Confusion and this plot could be synonyms. Him did nothing when these strangers were destroying his home. He only cared about making his guests happy rather than what Mother wanted.

The film tries to create a sense that viewers should want the best for Mother, but are dumbfounded by what is going on.

After everything, Mother demands that she has a child with Him, for that’s all she wants. Him succumbs, and she conceives. This inspires Him to write a new piece, but it all goes down from there. The same situation begins but with hundreds of people coming to the house unannounced, ruining what Mother created.

The intruders are stealing all of Mother’s belongings, abusing her, and killing one another while Him does nothing. The film has become total chaos and viewers are baffled by the events that occurred.

Mother eventually has her baby in this battleground, but does not trust Him with her baby. He wants to show the people her child, so Him steals the baby while Mother is passed out.

When the film concludes, the audience is unknown of what to process. Instead of having small metaphors, Aronofsky made this entire film a metaphor. Mother is supposed to be nature, Him is God, the child is Jesus, and the house is Earth.

While Aronofsky may have wanted a different direction to the film, the themes of religion are identical to “Rosemary’s Baby,” but instead of the Antichrist, Mother gives birth to Jesus. Mother and Rosemary are the same as well as Guy and Him. People disrespect Rosemary as well as Mother.

Plagiarism notwithstanding, “Mother!” is more identical than it is unique. Everything being a metaphor does not hide the illusion that this film seems like a knockoff remake.

Nonetheless, as hectic as “Mother!” is, it is an enjoyable film, but very confusing upon the initial viewing. “Rosemary’s Baby,” on the other hand, is tasteful like chocolate mousse while “Mother!” leaves a chalky undertaste.

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