Blu-ray
Recommended
3.5 stars
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$19.99
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Overall Grade
3.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
5 Stars
HD Video Quality
3.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4.5 Stars
Supplements
1 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
Recommended

mother!

Street Date:
December 19th, 2017
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
December 27th, 2017
Movie Release Year:
2017
Studio:
Paramount
Length:
121 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
R
Release Country
United States

Editor's Notes

mother! is the type of film where discussing plot details and specific story events quickly leads to SPOILERS. As such, this Blu-ray review avoids spoilers altogether while our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review offers more of a deep dive into the movie. Do check that out if you've already seen the movie or want to read about it afterward.

For those curious about the plot, here is the studio's official synopsis: "A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion, and sacrifice."

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Very few filmmakers manage to surprise and astound me with each consecutive film as much as Darren Aronofsky, leaving me emotionally overwhelmed while also fascinating me with disturbingly provocative and ambitiously challenging stories. And mother! is no different, arguably the director's most ambitious and intriguing project yet while also becoming the most divisive film of the year. Audiences seem torn between two very polarizing camps, either absolutely hating it or completely loving it. Aronofsky bombards the senses and the imagination with surreal, phantasmagoric visuals that spiral into a purgatory nightmare wrought with layers upon layers of meaning, making any number of interpretations as equally valid as the next. Obviously, I fall in the thoroughly love it camp. It's a magnificent arthouse piece that will unquestionably challenge viewers and test their patience for enjoying a film that defies expectations and escapes easy explanations.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Paramount Home Entertainment brings mother! to Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with a flyer for an UltraViolet Digital Copy. The Region Free, BD50 disc is housed inside a blue eco-vortex case with a DVD-9 on the opposing panel and a glossy slipcover. After a few skippable trailers, viewers are taken to a static menu screen with music. 

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Aronofsky's psychological horror fable breathes life on Blu-ray with a great-looking 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that's faithful to the creative intentions of the filmmakers. It may not be the sort to wow viewers, but it leaves a lasting impression that interestingly echoes the plot's themes. Shot on a combination of Super16 film stock, traditional 35mm and the Red Epic Dragon camera system, the freshly-minted transfer falls on the softer side of things with a few unexpectedly blurry sequences, but definition and resolution remain strong with plenty of sharp detailing throughout. Also, a very visibly thick grain structure washes over the picture, but it feels natural while giving the movie an attractively textured film-like appeal. As the movie continues, sharpness and clarity improve while the grain becomes less visible, a deliberate artistic choice that goes with the story's developments and reflects on-screen events.

Presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, the HD presentation also commences with a somewhat restrained contrast, making everything feels rather calm, idyllic and peacefully dreamlike. But again, as the story progresses, whites slowly improve as the heroine's paradise home deteriorates into a surreal nightmare with highlights coming into sharper, tighter focus, relating to her own sense of clarity and awareness of her situation. Brightness levels are lightly affected by this in the film's first half, delivering some rather lackluster, slightly murky blacks, but in the second half, shadows are darker and more accurately rendered, penetrating deep into the screen to provide the image with an appreciable three-dimensionality quality. The overall palette is also toned-down slightly with more emphasis on softer pastel hues and natural earth tones, adding to the plot's dreamlike start while growingly intensely yellow and amber as the character's ordeal increases.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

The Blu-ray features the same Dolby Atmos soundtrack heard on the 4K Ultra HD release. For an in-depth take on the audio quality, please click HERE.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

All the same supplements are ported over from the 4K Ultra HD release, which can be read in more detail in our review of the UHD HERE.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no high-def exclusives.

Final Thoughts

Aside from the more vocal uproar over the year's biggest blockbuster, Darren Aronofsky's mother! is perhaps the most divisive film of the year, enduring a great deal of scorned outrage, vehement objection or simply frustrated confusion over the director's intentions. Granted, the film is ultimately a 120-minute arthouse piece bombarding the senses with a seemingly random assortment of nightmarish visuals and phantasmagoric hallucinations leaving it to the audience to construct meaning. But in either case, there is not denying the film provokes an emotionally passionate reaction and deserving of thoughtful analysis.

The Blu-ray arrives with a good-looking transfer that's faithful to the filmmakers' stylized photography and features the same Dolby Atmos soundtrack as the 4K Ultra HD release. Sadly, the supplements are terribly lacking, if also disappointing, but the overall package nonetheless is recommended for fans of the film, Aronofsky in general and those that are simply curious.

Technical Specs

  • Two-Disc Combo Pack
  • BD-50 Dual-Layered / DVD-9 Dual-Layered Disc

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 2.39:1

Audio Formats

  • English Dolby Atmos
  • English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

Supplements

  • Featurettes
  • Trailers
  • UltraViolet Digital Copy

Exclusive HD Content

  • DVD Copy

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about our gear.

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