ByDavid Opie, writer at
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David Opie

Jennifer Lawrence is quite literally the beating heart of Darren Aronofky's latest triumph. Present at all times, the young star's visage is often all the audience sees in mother!, exposed by extreme close-ups that bear down upon Lawrence's increasingly harrowed features.

Evoking both the fragility and strength of Mother Earth in all her wrath, it's impossible to imagine anyone else but Jennifer Lawrence in the title role. However, there's one particular aspect of her performance that's been overlooked up until now, one that connects directly to the central metaphor that ties together the symbolism of mother!.

Going For Gray

mother! [Credit: Paramount Pictures]
mother! [Credit: Paramount Pictures]

There's a moment toward the beginning of mother! where Mother herself lapses into confusion, sensing some kind of heart beating behind the walls of her house. As our first glimpse into the otherworldly elements at play, the audience too struggles to understand the implications of this vision at first. However, as the movie develops, it soon becomes clear that mother! is more than just a psychological horror, instead delving deep into an allegorical exploration of biblical themes that spans entire millennia.

Dedicated to renovating the home of God (as represented by Javier Bardem), Jennifer Lawrence's character symbolizes Mother Earth and the house is her Garden of Eden, one that is soon violated by the presence of humanity. The heart that appears in her visions belongs to both the house and Mother herself, illustrating the intricate bond that they both share. As the toxicity of mankind continues to defile the house and push Mother to her utmost limits, the heart darkens in color, infected by violence and cruelty.

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That's not the only thing that changes color though. Among all of the rule breaking and baby-eating, eagle-eyed audiences may have also spotted a rather subtle change to the color of Jennifer Lawrence's hair. At first, her locks appear to be a light blond, but as the film progresses, Mother's hair begins to take on a gray hue that becomes more and more prominent as the chaos unfolds.

Whether this is due to the incidental lighting in the house or was a deliberate choice on the part of Darren Aronofsky is unclear at first. However, by the time that Mother gives birth to her baby, it's clear that her hair has shifted into a lifeless gray. Lawrence's character has literally given what's left of her life-force to this newborn child, becoming a gray husk in the process.

Of course, it's entirely possible that dust from the explosive warfare scene could have also become ingrained in Mother's hair, thereby producing the same effect, but it's hard to deny the clear parallels between this shift in color and the heart's suffering too. After all, during one particularly agonizing moment, Mother causes the floor to crack through sheer force of will, proving that her emotional state is inextricably linked to the house that she's helped renovate.

If the intricate clues found in the posters are anything to go by, then nothing depicted in mother! is merely accidental. However this effect was achieved, it's extremely likely that director Darren Aronofsky deliberately used shifts in color and lighting to help reflect the emotional devastation that lies quite literally at the heart of the movie. Saying that though, we also wouldn't be surprised if Jennifer Lawrence's hair had just turned gray following the star's harrowing ordeal on set.

Did you notice Mother's hair changing color? Let us know your thoughts about mother! in the comments section below!


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