Review Mommy: When dreams don’t come true

23. 11. 2014 Autor: Rubrika: English žádné komentáře

Mommy, the most recent film of the 25-year old Canadian prodigy director Xavier Dolan won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and so far has managed to gain sympathies of the critics and movie-goers all around the world.

Mother and son. Photo: Artcam

Canada, 2018. The government has passed a law S-14 which helps to unburden parents from their problematic children and facilitates the procedure of putting the latter directly into state care. But there will always be those who believe that love can overcome it all.

Diane Despres, a single, impetuous, chain-smoking mother of Steve, a teen with ADHD, comes to pick her son up from a psychiatric hospital where he had started a fire and almost killed a man.

The family reunification doesn’t come easy: Diane loses her job, Steve’s fits of anger become more and more destructive. The unexpected salvation comes from a neighbour Kyla who seems to be going through a crisis of her own, and the three lost souls form a family-like idyll. The question is, how long it will last.

This reworking of Dolan’s first film I Killed my Mother shows the same naiveté and loud energy of music, dancing, screams and tinsel. It also features the same trio of characters: a problem child, his mother and a teacher-friend. Just like Dolan’s debut, Mommy is an exploration of a mother and son relationship.

Yet, this time instead of dissecting teenage angst, Dolan lets us take a sneak peak from the mother’s perspective, creating a much more mature picture with more complicated characters, and more uncomfortable dilemmas than he does in I Killed my Mother.

The mommy is played by Anne Dorval who has transformed from the phlegmatic housewife from I Killed my Mother into a wild force whose bipolar fits, charm and eccentricity match Steve’s. This similarity between the mother and her son magnifies the immensely powerful bond between them, while the reactions of Kyla, the teacher remind us of the abnormality of their borderline incestuous relationship.

Although Kyla (played by Suzanne Clément) is a rather bleak personality compared to Diane and Steve, Dolan surprises the audience with snapshots of unexpected sides of her character adding another multifaceted character to the picture.

Despite letting us under the skin of the characters, there are many questions that Dolan leaves unanswered: why Kyla, who has a family of her own, is always at the Despres’ house? Why is there no jealousy between the three? Yet, those are unimportant since the focus of the film is placed on Diane and her undying hope for Steve’s happy future.

Apart from the stunning actors’ trio, other things to look forward to in Mommy are the thick accents and eloquent scenes accompanied by well-chosen soundtrack. Mommy can be seen in multiple movie theatres in Prague and the rest of Czech Republic.



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