With beautiful imagery and an emotionally-driven narrative, “Mother of Beauty” is a dark tale depicting the struggles of parenthood.
In the haunting horror short The Mother of Beauty, a single mother-to-be lives in isolation on the edge of the wilderness. She makes a living through her work with vulture culture: using the remains of dead animals to create art and memorialize the lives that once were. As she attempts to overcome the struggles of parenthood, the forces of life and death pull her in opposing directions, and she must find a way to reconcile the two before they tear her apart.
Mother of Beauty from director Nick Meunier follows the heartbreaking tale of a single mother, played by indie darling Tristan Risk, living in isolation in a lakeside forest home. The Mother’s life consists of wandering the peacefulness and silence of the forest, collecting animal remains and caring for them as they decompose. However, with the arrival of her baby, she must neglect the forest she loves for the child she cherishes.
The uphill battle that is parenthood, especially single parenthood, is a very emotive and raw topic that the film presents with sympathy and care.
The stress, isolation and new challenges begin to strain the mother emotionally and mentally, all of which is depicted sublimely through the clever use of symbolism and props. The slow-burn of the film shows that, despite the rare bonding moments with her child, the mother is deeply struggling with her role as caregiver and misses the peacefulness of having the woods to herself.
This is a fairly ‘calm’ film. Although unnerving and disturbing in nature, I wouldn’t go as far to call this a horror film — as it isn’t particularly ‘scary’, unless you’re squeamish about animal bones and carcasses. If you aren’t, you’ll still find the set design as creepy as it is beautiful. It’s utterly captivating to watch the mother make art out of the dead animals and bugs she finds and cares for in the woods.
The ending is especially saddening, both in context of the overall story and thanks to the build-up and numbing atmosphere that allows us to perceive the mother’s emotions without her having to say a word.
Overall, I would recommend this film wholeheartedly to those who enjoy a disturbing, emotional films replete with striking imagery and haunting atmosphere.
You can watch the film in its entirety here.