‘mother!’ Reviews Summary on ‘Woman’, played by Michelle Pfeiffer

Mother (JENNIFER LAWRENCE) and Him (JAVIER BARDEM) live in a seemingly idyllic existence in a secluded paradise. But the couple’s relationship is tested when man (ED HARRIS) and woman (MICHELLE PFEIFFER) arrive at their home uninvited. Answering that knock disrupts their tranquil existence and as more and more guests arrive, mother is forced to revisit everything she knows about love, devotion and sacrifice.
Directed by Darren Aronofsky

A word here about the dazzling Pfeiffer, who delivers an Oscar-caliber performance that is sexy, sinister and deeply affecting all at the same time: Pfeiffer would steal the movie if Aronofsky kept it still long enough to get a grip on. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Pfeiffer gives the best performance; sly with sensual mischief, she alone brings a whiff of the worldly-wise. – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
The best bits might be when she and Pfeiffer share the screen together. The Batman Returns and The Fabulous Baker Boys siren might not have a lot of screen time, but holy cow does she make the most out of every second Aronofsky gifts the three-time Oscar nominee. She and Lawrence are symbiotic perfection, the scenes where the two toss lines back and forth at one another truly spectacular. It’s hard to imagine the movie being nearly as successful as it is without either of them, and as great as Bardem and Harris might be, these two women are undeniably the main reason Mother! ends up producing the emotional kick to the head it ultimately does during its final moments. – Sara Michelle Fetters, Movie Freak
From the Biblical symbols Ed Harris and an outstanding Michelle Pfeiffer represent, along with their Cain and Abel-like sons, to the nihilistic outlook on celebrity and its effect on creativity, mother! succeeds in getting its myriad of points across. – Hayden Manders, Nylon
Michelle Pfeiffer does her best work in decades. Along with their co-stars, both women also manage to do something uncanny by making you think you’re watching a play rather than a film. From script to cinematography to sets to sound, this is bravura stuff – and you’re only halfway in. – Harry Guerin, RTE
Pfeiffer is particularly brilliant, a mischief-maker who arrives as the most unwelcome house guest ever, probing the proud and prudish Lawrence with questions about her fertility and sex life. – James Mottram, Games Radar
Jennifer Lawrence and Michelle Pfeiffer are very strong. Their performances go hand in hand with the technical proficiency. This is where Mother! is most effective. Aronofsky is clearly enamored with his female lead and supporting actress. Lawrence sells the nature and nurture, while Pfeiffer is intimidation gusto. – Julian Roman, Movie Web
Michelle Pfeiffer soon appears at the front door as the visitor’s tart-tongued, callously inquisitive wife. She’s very funny here; it’s her best role and best work in years. – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
This is probably good time a time to explain that no character in the movie has a real name, and most are lowercase: Harris and Pfeiffer — who steals every scene with icy arrogance — are credited as “man” and “woman,” while supporting characters include a zealot, neophyte, penitent, healer and soldier. – Brian Truitt, USA Today
A wickedly funny Michelle Pfeiffer. – Lindsey Bahr, AP
It falls to the actors to endow this highly symbolic, pictorially overloaded environment with a sense of human reality — with flesh and blood and feeling. Mr. Bardem, alpha male and omega man, is the kind of actor who can endow an abstraction with gravity and tenderness. (He did pretty much that in “No Country for Old Men.”) The enigmatic nature of his character in “Mother!” allows him to relax, to be playful and charismatic, and to disappear. Mr. Harris and especially Ms. Pfeiffer bring a jolt of shtick and a whisper of camp, qualities that you may miss terribly when they depart. – A.O. Scott, The New York Times

The next morning Man’s wife — Woman, naturally, played with delicious bile by Michelle Pfeiffer — shows up. She’s a drunk and a meddler, badgering Mother about the age difference between her and the older Him. – Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral
And Aronofsky’s clearly able to inspire actors, particularly Lawrence, who starts off as jangled and only grows more crazed as the film goes on, and Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer who add some quiet menace as Man and Woman. Their scenes, coming in the first half of the movie, before it begins to lose its mind, are strong. – Stephen Whitty, True Jersey
Ed Harris has a fairly thankless role, but Michelle Pfeiffer is delightfully strange as his wife. I love her, and she makes some great big choices, especially when she’s left to spar with Lawrence. – Drew McWeeny, The Tracking Board
Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer are fantastic as the house guests from Hell. Both of them know how to build the mystery of their characters and you can’t help but be intrigued by these characters even though as the viewer, you don’t necessarily feel comfortable watching them. – Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment
Javier Bardem’s narcissistic charm as the writer could easily lead to award nominations, while Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer provide strong support. – Chris Hunneysett, Mirror
Pfeiffer in her minimal screen time is an alluring hellcat. She owns every scene she’s in, able to destroy Lawrence with just a sneering look in her eyes. The actress has been nominated for three Oscars since the late-80s. Could this juicy supporting role lead to the promised land? I sure hope so. – Mara Reinstein, Mara Movies
More memorable, although this is also by virtue of the juiciness of her too-small role, is the fantastic Michelle Pfeiffer. She marches into a room like she owns it, and nearly walks away with every scene she’s in. It’s the part you’ve been wanting her to get for years, and I hope it leads to more high-profile work. – Brian Tallerico, Robert Ebert
We contemplate the complex relationship between Lawrence and Bardem’s characters. She is warm and loving; he is detached. The arrival of two strangers (Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer) changes everything; Harris and Pfeiffer are wonderful. We squirm with discomfort as Pfeiffer interrogates Lawrence on personal issues involving passion and procreation. The passion is ignited, although not in the way we might have imagined. Life doesn’t work out the way you want, we hear. – Andrew Weisblum, Urban Cine File
Aronofsky tells his version of this story on grainy stock, with muted colors and little to no music for much of the film, and casts it beautifully; Michelle Pfeiffer in particular, as a figure that’s equal parts Eve and the serpent, is the magnet for every scene she’s in. – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
The poet, who’s warm but uncannily friendly, invites Harris’ character to stay over, and soon after the man’s wife arrives unannounced, played to icy perfection by Michelle Pfeiffer. – E. OLIVER WHITNEY, Screen Crush

A world-famous poet (Javier Bardem) has sought refuge with his much younger wife (Jennifer Lawrence) in a secluded Victorian house, hoping the countryside quiet will help him overcome his writer’s block. The unexpected visit of a married couple (Ed Harris and a scene-stealing Michelle Pfeiffer) and their two violent sons (Domhnall and Brian Gleeson) shakes the central relationship. – Leonardo Goi, Cinema Scope
Michelle Pfeiffer also deliciously plays the role of Harris’ slightly off-kilter, devilish wife and is truly wonderful to watch. – Paul Heath, The Hollywood News
Then Harris’s wife appears, played with cat-clawing menace by Pfeiffer. – Joseph Walsh, The Skinny
Pfeiffer gives a very enjoyable performance as a jaded and glamorous older woman. She is tactless about the age difference between Poet and Mother and disarmingly frank about everything from her sex life and her drinking to why her reluctant hosts haven’t got around to having kids yet. She is also very nosy. There is some strange link between the couple and the Poet which Mother can’t work out. – Geoffrey Macnab, Independent
A self-proclaimed doctor comes with a hacking cough who’s soon even less explicably joined by his if-cheekbones-could-kill wife, played with great determined spite by Michelle Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer interrogates Lawrence with such hostility over the age-difference thing that I wondered whether her character was a writer for Jezebel, but no. – Glenn Kenny, Roger Ebert
Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem are tremendously operatic as the leads and it is great to welcome Michelle Pfeiffer back to the big screen in a pleasingly cruel supporting role. – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
So when mysterious guests start showing up, including a hacking, smoking doctor (Ed Harris) and his frowzy, half-soused wife (Michelle Pfeiffer, reviving her glorious Catwoman purr), you immediately feel for Lawrence, cleaning up their mess and enduring their judgy scowls. – Joshua Rothkopf, Timeout
Another knock: It’s Michelle Pfeiffer, all bossy and mean and foxy, who is also invited to hang out for a spell. With a contemptuous scowl, she grills Lawrence on the subject every young wife just loves: “Don’t you want children?” Commandeering the laundry room, she empties the washing machine by dumping its contents on the floor. Dangling a bit of limp, gray jersey, she observes disdainfully that Lawrence’s choice of underwear is probably to blame for the fact that she hasn’t yet conceived. – Stephanie Zacharek, TIME
Lawrence, Pfeiffer, Harris and Bardem are great at creating a group of people who seem to operate on a level of inescapable paranoia, reminiscent of early Polanski. And the horror set up is deftly done. – John Bleasdale, Cinevue
He’s delighted when an emphysemic stranger (Ed Harris), followed in short order by his lyxnish wife (deliciously played by Michelle Pfeiffer with no retractable claws), turns up on the doorstep, unannounced and unexplained, and practically invites himself to stay. – Guy Lodge, Vanity Fair
The couple sneak into Bardem’s study when he’s not around and accidentally smash his crystal into splinters. But they also pry into the couple’s personal lives: Pfeiffer nags and teases Lawrence for not yet having children while sipping boozy lemonade. – 
It coasts on delicious, low-simmering interactions, like when the cat-like Pfeiffer playfully interrogates the more restrained and shy Lawrence, unearthing all of the younger woman’s innate insecurities, before devolving into outright chaos. – Ben Crol, IndieWire
Played with delicious disregard for niceties by Michelle Pfeiffer – if the character was a Real Housewife her locale would be Hell – she starts the project of dislodging Mother’s self-belief. “Was I too forward?” she soon purrs, having already noted the couple’s age difference, lack of children and creaky co-dependence. – Craig Mathieson, The Sydney Morning Herald
A man (Ed Harris) who turns out to be a fan, and whom, despite his wife’s feeble protestations, the poet invites to stay. He’s soon joined by his wife (a deliciously malevolent and predatory Michelle Pfeiffer) – Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
Aronofsky flirts with horror here: the smoking, coughing Ed Harris has a flesh wound and regurgitates something sinister down the toilet. Soon he’s joined by his gargoyle-ish, snippy wife Pfeiffer (fantastic), who spells out the sexual tension between ‘him’ and mother, even as she encroaches into their perfect world. – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily
As for the performances, the resurgent Michelle Pfeiffer may represent the film’s best shot at a nod in the top categories. Her wicked, uncanny turn as a houseguest from hell is the most vivid screen work she’s done since 2002’s “White Oleander,” and after several years out of the spotlight, voters might be ready to welcome back the three-time nominee, even if they don’t take to the film overall. – Guy Lodge, Variety
In “mother!,” the filmmaker basically just keeps coming up with bigger and better ways to punish his heroine. Harris’s wife comes over, and she’s a noodgy drunk played, with blaring ferocity, by Michelle Pfeiffer. – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
Harris and Pfeiffer up the ante with very keen turns as the couple that show up with no intention of leaving. – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Report

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