This one is only for the adventurous moviegoer.
It helps if you're into symbolism, because there's a lot of it.
It's also painful to watch, so you have to be a little masochistic
to enjoy it. Other than
that---the acting's good?
Jennifer Lawrence, in the main role, has a lot of camera time, and
most of it isn't very glamorous. She
plays a young wife to a middle-aged man, played by Javier Bardem.
(They don't even have character names in this movie, like they're
the original Adam and Eve---except here, she doesn't have the corner on
original sin---he's just as prideful as she is self-centered).
He's supposed to be a successful writer currently suffering from
writer's block. They've moved
into the isolated house in the country with lots of creaks and groans and
dripping pipes. She's trying
to paint it and fix it up while he's sitting around with not enough
stimuli to create anything. All
she wants is to fluff up their love nest.
But clearly, the isolation is starting to affect even his desire
That's why, when the unexpected company arrives, he's delighted,
and she's horrified. They just
keep coming. First, a
physician (Ed Harris) who coughs too much, then his wife (Michelle
Pfeiffer), who gets way too invasive of Jennifer's personal space, but the
men, having their male bonding moments, don't seem to notice.
Then things take a nasty turn as their two grown sons enter and
immediately everybody starts arguing vociferously.
Something about a will that leaves the assets in a trust where the
sons have to agree on disbursements, and they can't even stand each other.
But everybody's yelling at once, so we don't know exactly what the
points of debate are, but it doesn't matter, because soon the situation
gets way out of hand. Yes,
Cain kills Abel and is then exiled, but at least Adam and Eve get to start
over with Seth, even if banished from Eden.
Ed and Michelle seem to be unlikely candidates for that sort of
But that's OK, because by now Jennifer is pregnant, which she's
delighted about, but her husband not so much.
He seems to gain energy being around other people, particularly
those who admire him and his work, and there seems to be no shortage of
those, particularly now that he's finally written again.
In fact, led by his adoring publicist (Kristen Wiig, yes, the
erstwhile humorist in a decidedly adverse role), the paparazzi literally
invade the house and become a ravenous mob, taking liberties, helping
themselves, insisting on personal souvenirs.
(“The Poet said we should share!”) The climactic scene contains
much devilish Christian symbolism---eating the flesh of the sacrificial
lamb by solemn communal ritual. And
this after we've already anointed with ashes.
And just as at the end of the Bible we have an apocalypse featuring
an inferno, here we do, also, with the caveat of an old Aztec pagan ritual
that will curdle anyone's consciousness.
Director Darren Aronofsky already has proven his affinity for the
shadow-world in “The Wrestler” and “Black Swan.”
This one is even darker, and a lot less coherent.
Call it the Purple Parable of the Paparazzi, and watch it at your