Hello all! Marco–I just saw your theory above, and laughed when you mentioned me as “Woman.” (That’s probably accurate.) I also just listened to the whole podcast, which was excellent–I think everyone had a lot of substantial points and thought-provoking comments.
I have a few comments, which I want to talk about here, especially with respect to the requested revisions on my written piece.
First–the idea that this is an allegory of the Bible. It kind of reminded me of the old Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz thing, where one appears to be the soundtrack of the other. I actually tried doing that once, and it didn’t fit–for me, this idea of Biblical allegory does not fit, either. When JF went through the various examples, I certainly see his point–but if that is Aronofsky’s intention, it really does fall flat, and I’m not surprised that JF sort of “checked out” after noticing this pattern. I have done some re-writes to the article to address this, but in short–none of the characters mirror Biblical characters in any way. “Him” may be an adored creator, but is not Yahweh by any stretch. The baby is too young to be Jesus–he carries the totem animal aspects of Jesus (a la Freud), but otherwise his personality is subsumed in Him, and Jesus and Yahweh are very different characters in the Bible. The presence of Mother herself is problematic if it’s a Bible parallel…but I’ll leave it there. While I definitely see that as a point of interest, I’m not sure it’s terribly obvious. It fits like an uncomfortable shoe.
The second thing–the idea of the Mother character as “complicit”. I definitely agree that there is a “Terrible Mother” aspect to Jennifer Lawrence’s character, but I don’t see her as complicit–I see her as deferential. That’s a common trait that women display in speech and body language; we are brought up to “make nice”. Both characters are following the same destruction/creation story unconsciously–if you think of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”–the lottery is held because that’s what they always do. There’s no thought behind it–it’s unconscious.
I do agree that Aronofsky tends to make Lawrence look like the victim, when in fact they are both guilty of unconsciously going through the script. I was also intrigued by Caroline’s comment about whether or not Mother is driving all this/has the power, or if this is all in the mind of Him. I suspect there’s a bit of both going on…
Lastly, with regard to some of John’s comments–I thought the comparison to the Roman Empire was interesting, and it made me think of Philip K. Dick’s VALIS–“the Empire never ended.” Also, your comments on Aronofsky as a person–we never know how much one’s own personality influences their characters. However, I did meet Aronofsky in London, and let’s just say I think your critique of him is not likely far off the mark. But to be fair, I only met him once, and maybe it only appeared that he was just interested in making nice with the “important people” in the room…
Oh, and archetypes–you can’t change an archetype, as one never actually knows what it IS–but its inflection can certainly change.
That’s my two cents–I’m hoping there will be a follow-up podcast, lots to say on this film! Another quick note, I’m also interested in the difference between male and female views of this film. I haven’t really analyzed the podcast in full, but it does seem that we come up with different ideas about Mother and Him in this film, and some may come from our own gender experience.