Javier Bardem mystifies

The star of "mother!" shocks the system


BY: Zak Wojnar

Based on how much people seem to hate it, Darren Aronofsky‘s latest film might just be a masterpiece. Mother! earned a rare “F” CinemaScore from opening day audiences, a dubious honor reserved for either outright trash or the truly esoteric films whose messages fly over the heads of most viewers (and many critics). Being released hot on the heels of the crowd-pleasing Stephen King adaptation, It, surely didn’t help matters for Mother!, either.

We’ve already looked at Jennifer Lawrence, who plays the female lead, but now we’re here to shine a spotlight on Javier Bardem, who plays her husband, a troubled writer aiming to create something special. What follows is a totally bonkers religious allegory which veers wildly, gloriously off the rails, complete with a delightfully incongruous image of Kristen Wiig dual-wielding shotguns like a crazed gunslinger.

By the time the dusts clears, there will be only one question: will Mother! go down in history as a misfire, a cautionary tale of why auteur directors shouldn’t be unleashed without oversight? Or will it be remembered as a cult classic, a work of art with layers of meaning on top of its endearingly whimsical visuals and all-star cast? Either way, one thing’s for sure: Javier Bardem will be fine.

Bardem, 48, is one of Hollywood’s most gifted actors, and he impeccably balances grand blockbusters like Skyfall and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales with more risk-taking work, like No Country for Old Men – for which he won an Academy Award – and, of course, Mother!. Next up, the talented thespian will appear in two films alongside his wife, the lovely Penelope Cruz: Loving Pablo, about the private life of notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (which has already debuted in his native Spain), and Everybody Knows, a psychological thriller directed by Ashgar Farhadi (A Separation, The Salesman). Hopefully those will be better received by audiences and the Academy when voting time comes.