T&T's Look at Xavier Dolan's MOMMY

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.

Here's an excerpt of Dolan's explanation for calling the film "Mommy" 

It actually took me several minutes in to Mommy to even notice the film wasn't taking up the whole screen, it's framed. When I finally did take note of it, my assumption was the film must have been shot on something that wasn't compatible with the projector; but no, this was an intentional choice by the filmmaker.
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 Variety
The 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 (Graphic by Tinsel & Tine)

"Mommy" opened in Philadelphia at Ritz 5 theater on January 30, 2015.

T &T's LAMB Score: 3.5 outta 5

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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