Darren Aronofsky is one of the most interesting directors working today. His body of work is all the more impressive when you realize he’s made such an impact with only seven feature-length films.
While he’s served as a producer on great films like Jackie and White Boy Rick, for this list, we’re only looking at his seven directorial features. Much like his filmography, this list is bound to be divisive, so let’s start analyzing the best Darren Aronofsky movies.
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Darren Aronofsky Films
7. Noah (2014)
Aronofsky needed to take a lot of creative liberty when adapting the biblical story of Noah. The Bible story only spans four chapters, and his wife is never given a name. Perhaps it’s, for this reason, the film feels so at war with itself. It wants to be a personal family drama while also aspiring to be a biblical epic. It wants to combine elements of realism with symbolism. The movie is a contradiction, and while it has its moments, it feels like a film Aronofsky should have skipped.
Darren Aronofsky’s Films
6. Pi (1998)
Pi is Aronofsky’s debut feature, and it’s noteworthy for showcasing the kind of filmmaker he would become. The film deals heavily with themes regarding religion, which would pop up again in his filmography. There is also a heavy suggestion the protagonist is a paranoid schizophrenic. It makes for a great calling card and is a great film for aspiring filmmakers to watch. It shows how you can be true to yourself and launch the kind of film career you want on your terms.
Darren Aronofsky Movies List
5. The Fountain (2006)
The genesis of The Fountain was to make a science fiction film that went beyond technology. Instead, he wanted to make a film that searched for the meaning of life and what God truly meant. Unfortunately, a slashed budget left this beautifully-shot film feeling a bit anemic. However, what the film lacks in plot and characters, it more than makes up for in stunning visuals and one of the best scores of the 2000s. It may be a misstep, but when you’re dealing with Darren Aronofsky, a misstep is still better than most things out there.
Darren Aronofsky Movies Ranked
4. mother! (2017)
mother! is one heck of a roller coaster ride. The more it lingers on your mind, the more you can get out of it. Aronofsky said he wanted to make a film about climate change, but he also incorporates elements of religion with the first half of the film playing out like the story of Genesis. The latter half symbolically shows the destruction of the planet. It works because unlike Noah, Aronofsky dives headfirst into symbolism, foregoing any sense of realism to deliver a poignant message about how religion and environmentalism intertwine.
Great Darren Aronofsky Films
3. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
When making a film about drug addiction, experimental camera work can help tell the story just as well as any dialogue. That’s why for Requiem for a Dream, Aronofsky employs montages of brief cuts and tight close-ups to put the audience more in the mindset of the characters. It’s arguably the most difficult Aronofsky film to watch, but for understanding what kind of stories he’s drawn to, it’s the most essential.
All of Darren Aronofsky’s Films
2. Black Swan (2010)
Aronofsky’s films tend to have multiple themes working at the same time. Black Swan, while certainly up to interpretation, mainly focuses on one idea: the pursuit for artistic perfection. Through claustrophobic cinematography, we’re drawn directly into Natalie Portman’s stellar performance. With a new twist and new horror, we’re drawn more into this nightmare, proving how Aronofsky has a way of getting in your head and never leaving.
The Best Darren Aronofsky Films
1. The Wrestler (2008)
While Aronofsky’s mostly known for surrealism and intricate camera movements, he scaled things considerably back with The Wrestler. The result is the best film of his career. It’s a heartbreaking film, and while some of his other movies aren’t accessible to mass audiences, The Wrestler can be enjoyed by practically anyone without sacrificing anything that makes it special.What’s even more fascinating is seeing how The Wrestler and Black Swan intertwine with one another. Each is about an artist who sacrifices their lives for their work. With deep themes on obsession and perfection, it’s painfully relevant to anyone who wants to excel in an art form.
Darren Aronofsky Movies
Now that the best Darren Aronofsky movies have been ranked, it’s time to dive deeper into his filmmaking style. StudioBinder has examined some of the cinematography and editing he frequently implements in his films for you to learn from. Whether you’re a fan of The Wrestler, Noah, or anything else on our Darren Aronofsky movies list, you’ll want this quick primer on how to film like Aronofsky.