Star – Xavier Dolan
Genre – Drama
Run Time – 2 hr 18minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – French/Canadian (Subtitles)
Awards – 49 Wins & 59 Nomination
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French – Canadian Xavier Dolan is a mega young talent, Mummy, another belter from the now 28-year-old, writer, director and star here. He was brilliant in ’I killed my Mother’, excellent in Heartbeats and intense in Laurence Anyways, his last film ‘Tom at the Farm’ just as good, they say. He is openly gay and so likes to tackle that stuff in his movies, playing everything from transvestites to incestuous gay brothers. He is a very brave filmmaker and sure to deliver a classic one day. He is a must see foreign actor on our screens.
Mummy is his biggest budget yet at $5.0m and did a healthy $13.1 million back, perhaps because his signature homosexual characters are not present here. The troubled young lead character is a curious A Sexual being this time around.
The film is presented in an unheard-of 1:1 aspect ratio; the “viewing area” of the screen is a perfect square. You don’t notice that at the time and although a tad pretentious it seemed to work. The Cannes Film Festival loved it, and his film, and gave him the top prize and a 12 minute standing ovation – which is very pretentious.
Anne Dorval as Diane “Die” Després
- Antoine Olivier Pilon as Steve Després
- Suzanne Clément as Kyla
- Alexandre Goyette as Patrick
- Patrick Huard as Paul Béliveau
- Steven Chevrin as older Steve
After a fictional outcome for the Canadian election, 2015, a party comes to power and sets up a law called S-14, allowing parents of troubled children and limited money to place their kids in mental hospitals, without regard for fundamental justice. After the law is passed, Diane Després (Anne Dorval), a feisty 40 something widowed mother and journalist, picks up her teenage son Steve (Xavier Dolan), who has ADHD with violent tendencies, from one of those hospitals before he is interned legally. Steve has been a pain in the neck and started a fire at the institution, in which another youth was injured.
Die brings her son home determined to give it a go, Steve going downhill soon after his dad died of cancer. She struggles to care for him as money is tight. But he is soon volatile when he gives mom jewelry reading “Mommy”, which she suspects that he has stolen. Objects are soon flying across the room between the tempestuous pair.
<a href="https://www.filmtheaterhilversum.nl/films/778-mommy.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Source</a>
Kyla (Suzanne Clément), a timid neighbor and teacher on a sabbatical, shows up to tend to their wounds from across the street, immediately drawn to the charismatic and hyper blue eyed Steve. Kyla, who is dealing with a stuttering problem, begins to home tutor Steve for a few bucks, and Steve enjoying her company but always erratic and less than tactile, therapy for both.
Die’s luck continues to tumble when she is served papers indicating she and Steve are being sued for the injuries caused by his fire. Die flirts with a lawyer who lives in the street willing to help them as the sexual tension rises. But how far is she willing to go to save her son?
An intense, intelligent, edgy drama about emotions like no other is what you get here folks. Xavier Dolans lead turn is amazing and one of cinemas best young actors around. Where these performances come from is the mystery and magnificence of Dolan. Anne Dorval is also excellent alongside and always subliminal sexual tension between the cast, be it the older woman neighbor and younger man or even mother and son. This film appears to be about the unbroken bond between mother and son but you never know what Dolan is up to in his writing he is that risqué. Right from the off he explodes on to the screen, uncontrolled, mischievous, swearing and with his spectacular non tactile performance. The guy is totally fearless, acting, writing and directing.
The mother and son relationship – on and off screen – is an awkward one to deal with sometimes. ADD in the mix allows for the film to go anywhere, emotionally and violently on that bond. I do know depression and mental illness is more prevalent in gay men and so maybe a lot of Dolan in his character, a life of contradictions.
On the whole a very powerful and fulfilling foreign subtitled film that foreign film fans will love and many others will steer clear of. For me it’s one of the most interesting and bold films on human relationships for a while and one you should make the effort to see. It is actor led over any real story of note and so that’s what you will be getting to grips with here. Xavier Dolan is nothing if not original.
Imdb.com – 8.1/10.0 (37.234votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 89% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 74% critic’s approval
Le Monde –‘This is easily Dolan’s best film, and it’s exciting to think how many times we might have to revise that statement over the years to come’
New Yorker –‘Mother and son gesticulate wildly but remain undefined; Dolan’s blandly showy aesthetic matches the vainly hectic action’.
Seattle Weekly –‘You can see the talent that lies beneath Dolan’s aggressive method, and the promise of something great in his future’.
The Idaho Times –‘The fact that this unusual film not only works, but is one of the best of the year, is conclusive proof that Xavier Dolan has joined the top tier of directors’.
Independent –‘The plotting is wayward and haphazard but the film is made and performed with such frankness and emotional intensity that its occasional stumbles never seem a problem’.
The Times –‘As outrageous as it is insightful, Mommy is a mother-and-son melodrama taken to operatic heights’. Dolan has previously been accused of style over substance but here he draws both magnificently together. It’s perhaps a little too long, but Mommy is a movie to make you feel alive.