Jul 7, 2016

Mommy (2014)

Mommy (2014) movie poster
Mommy is a 2014 Canadian drama film directed by Xavier Dolan. It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize. The film won nine Canadian Screen Awards at the 3rd Canadian Screen Awards in 2015, including Best Motion Picture and ten Jutra Awards at the 17th Jutra Awards, including Best Film. It was also Best Foreign Film at the 40th César Awards. Mommy was selected as the Canadian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, but was not nominated.

A widowed single mother, raising her violent son alone, finds new hope when a mysterious neighbor inserts herself into their household.

***Spoiler Alert***

K: He's a young 27-year-old French-Canadian director with his own recognizable style; always one of the favorites at the Cannes Film Festival. People love him or hate him after seeing his movies. He makes us feel something; he doesn't leave us in a state of indifference! This is Xavier Dolan and his “Mommy”. It was the second time that I'd watched the movie and my emotions after the end credits got even stronger. Freddy, what do you think about “Mommy”? As for me, this movie touched different strings in my soul and I think the effect will stay the same or even more intense as I get older. The film is very thought-provoking in a way that it shows an unacceptable relationship between a son (Steve) and a mother (Diane).

F: First thing I want to say about this movie is that the soundtrack is totally obnoxious. We have Oasis and Dido songs that were already used to exhaustion, Lana del Ray, and those violins in Diane's daydream sequence were turning me into Steve; I just felt like screaming and bashing my TV set against the wall.

killing violins

F: I'm trying to understand if I liked this movie or not... I'm reading other reviews and everyone just seemed so moved. I see so much laughter and tears, such intensity, so much wow, very heartbreaking... It was applauded for 9 minutes in Cannes! And yet... here I am... feeling nothing. What's wrong with me? Sometimes I even got annoyed with it and asked where this movie was going and why. The narrative is weak. Anne Dorval and Antoine-Olivier Pilon's performances are great, and that's what made me not totally dislike this movie. Somehow I can't get that feeling of something real happening; I can't get deep with the characters.

kyla and steve

K: This is a really alarming movie, a bit inflated in time and extremely expressive, even if you’re about to press X to turn it off, you can’t, 'cause for some reason something just doesn’t let you do it. You feel spellbound by this nerve-wrecking melodrama. The relationship between Steve and Diane is totally shocking. He calls his mother - a bitch and she calls him back – a bastard, but anyway, they learn how to live together peacefully. Steve loves his mother crazily, love that can destroy and kill! Only Kyla, the stuttering and quiet neighbor across the street, could help him find some temporary peace, to feel hope and teach him that happiness is possible in their life.

F: I like it when Steve flips out at the Céline Dion karaoke scene. That's my favorite moment in the movie. Unlike you, Krasnaya I wasn't that shocked by the mother-son relationship, maybe because I also come from a highly dysfunctional family and I'm used to that kind of drama.

steve's karaoke

K: The love Steve feels for his mother is more than his son’s love; it gets closer and closer to incest, but Dolan has been smart enough not to be too explicit about this. He found another way to exteriorize the demons that his characters had. He did it by extending the image, the format of the movie changes, creating this metaphor for moments of total freedom and happiness. The other 2 hours, his characters are trapped in a 1:1 format, and this Instagram square wonderfully shows all the emotions that the characters are feeling. The cast is just perfect: Anne Dorval (Diane), Suzanne Clement (Kyla) and Antoine-Olivier Pilon did their job amazingly. Every gesture, every move, every emotion, and even every breath is on the place! And bravo to Andre Turpin for the high-quality picture. I’m not going to say anything about the music in this movie. It’s different for everyone; me, for example, didn’t bother me that much and didn’t spoil the feeling on the screen. I’d say this movie should be watched just because it won’t leave you indifferent.

F: Soooo, yeah, the aspect ratio was a cool idea; it gave me a feeling of suffocation of the mind and emotions lived by the characters. I have to watch some other Dolan movies to understand if I should love or hate this guy...

Krasnaya score: 90/100
Freddy's score: 59/100

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