Monday, February 2, 2015
25-year-old Canadian director Xavier Dolan's 5th film MOMMY won the Special Jury Prize last spring at the Cannes Film Festival.
The film brings us into the world of Diane "Die" Despres (Annie Dorval) an overly made up, aging beauty with a nice figure in her sequined jeans. Her manner is frank and frequently too loud. She's what you'd call a natural survivor. Die's car gets broadsided near the beginning of the film, and she emerges head bleeding, cussing out the at fault driver; yet the next scene she's made it to her destination, tacky heels clicking, as if the car accident was just another minor inconvenience in her usually trying day. The destination - picking up her 15 year-old son Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) from yet another juvenile facility, as it seems he's had something to do with setting a fire at the school and causing another student extensive 3rd degree burns.
I think the movie really should be called "Steve" as his name is called, yelled, threatened, soothed and cried throughout the movie; and it's Steve's ADHD and lack of impulse control at the crux of the film. It seems Steve has always had some mental and emotional issues, however, they became exacerbated by the death of his father leaving Diane (Mommy) to deal with the often crazy mess that is her son.
In a typically impulsive gesture, Dolan decided to shoot his freewheeling meller in a square frame (though the version screened at Cannes actually looked taller than it was wide), pillarboxing the 1:1 image with black bars on either side. However unnatural the viewing experience, those dimensions force us directly into the center of this already over-intimate menage, but come at the expense of some of d.p. Andre Turpin’s most invigorating images — like the revolving shot of Steve spinning a grocery cart in a strip-mall parking lot to the Counting Crows’ “Colorblind.” READ MORE Peter Debruge VarietyThe relationship between mother and son is fascinating: sometimes slightly incestuous, other times normal single parent/child arguments - she wants him to turn his music down, he doesn't like her male suitor; then there's the dark moments where she experiences utter fear of him, and times when all she can see is the sacrifices made; but most times they are everything to each other.
The film could easily have existed on the power of mother and son, but it's made even more faceted by the arrival of the neighbor, Kyla (Suzanne Clément) who's timid, mousy demeanor and stutter belie the strength beneath. Her own situation is sketchy, she's a school teacher on sabbatical with a husband and daughter, who live with her right across the street, but she can't seem to connect with them at this juncture in her life. Oddly, she can connect with Die and Steve. They make a rather peculiar threesome, however, their union brings a sense of hope to them all, at least for a time.
|Xavier Dolan quote from Gaurdian.com (Graphic by Tinsel & Tine)|
T &T's LAMB Score: 3.5 outta 5
Heard of the movie "Mommy"? We've got you covered w/ a review by Le Anne of Tinsel And Tine (@tinseltine) - http://t.co/fbDSyj2NK3
— HalfPoppedReviews (@ReviewPopper) February 5, 2015
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