1. How does your view of the main character change throughout the course of this film? What does this movie say about its the themes of motherhood and justice? And what do you think the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes?
My view of the mail character did not change significantly throughout the course of Mother. That is, my judgement of her did not change significantly but the film did provide opportunity for more detailed understanding of her character and her motivations as the film progressed. From the beginning of the film you can see that this mother is a bit obsessive, and at the end of the film you can pretty much see that this mother is a bit obsessive. The meat of the story tells us that this mother is obsessive with a criminal twist, and that she herself may be responsible for her son’s cognitive limitations. They do not let us know if his cognition was delayed prior to being poisoned at age five, but if he was not and that did happen as a result of her attempted infanticide/suicide then her obsession with his safety and wellbeing makes more sense. I think that this movie is either a bit misogynistic in it’s constant disrespect for her actions or intentions, or this movie is commenting on cultural and perhaps misogynistic tendencies to disregard women and mothers of her age and social status. Perhaps the film is also commenting on that society’s justice or law enforcement systems by asking us to think about how many things were unfair socially for the victim of the murder, the mother, and the son. I think that the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes her secrets. The tin appears several times referencing her illegal use of them as she is not certified to be a practitioner with those needles in use. They appear again when confronted with her son’s painful memory of being poisoned by his mother and as she confronts her shame about this secret as she wants to use the needles to release those memories. Finally, they are a component in her meeting with the old man she ultimately murders and burns. I am curious about this old man’s picture on the girl’s phone. Was he a John? Did he engage in sex with a teenager? I think that question leaves more questions about her actions that we think were done out of preservation for her son’s life outside of prison. Even if she killed that man only out of preserving that secret (once again the needles are present), was he a nice old man or a pervert? Finally her boy preserves her secret as she did for him by collecting that tin of needles from a crime scene. She is shamed by this in the last scene of the movie before getting on the bus and performing acupuncture on herself. Mother was a pretty weird movie.
Good point how the cognitive issues of the son may be the fault of the mother.