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When it comes to the simple yet intricate work that director Darren Aronofsky put into Mother!, there’s a lot to consider. Once you see the movie, you realize that Aronofsky has masterfully pulled together a deep concept with a stellar cast. You realize that the insane ending snowballs into one mind-melting takeaway. And, of course, you come to understand that one of the most important characters is the house itself.
Without giving too much away, the stunning three-story Victorian house in Mother! is more than just a structure that contains all the film’s madness. It’s a symbol; without it, the story wouldn’t have quite the same impact. It’s crucial to note that Jennifer Lawrence‘s character is very connected to the place. “I was mostly always barefoot so I could feel the house,” she said, according to the film’s production notes. “I knew my character’s reaction to the house was going to be internal.” Aronofsky shared a similar sentiment: “She’s barefoot the whole movie. Mother started to come alive in front of me.” This makes you wonder, how on earth did they find such an incredible building for the film? Well, actually, they built it.
The production notes also reveal that “finding the perfect structure was critical” to Aronofsky. He launched a full search through the northeastern American states and came up empty-handed. He eventually gave up and consulted production designer Philip Messina to build the house from the ground up. Producer Scott Franklin called it “quite the construction job” that “goes through many levels of destruction,” which, to be frank, is an understatement.
They finally built the house all the way up in in Montreal, Canada . . . twice. “The first time, we built just the first floor out in a field, in a beautiful field,” Aronofsky said. “That allowed us to do all the daylight sequences, and we shot those in order. Then, we built the full three-story house in a sound stage in Montreal, and we were able to do the night sequences.” Once you see the film and behold the structural brilliance of the house itself, you’ll really start to understand how deep the story runs.
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