Mommy (15)

Directed by Xavier Dolan
Picturehouse, Liverpool
From 20th March 2015

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is a truly wonderful film, impressively directed by 26-year-old French-Canadian Xavier Dolan. Incredibly this is his fifth major feature.

On a technical level he shot Mommy in a 1:1 aspect ratio and condensed the tight frame, similar to a square, superbly well. Unusually, in one scene the subtitles of this French speaking film appear at the top of the. picture.

This style of filming results in a visual style which focuses on faces, which leads to the viewer having an added intimacy with the characters.

What radiates throughout is the extraordinary acting performances by the three main protagonists, who all portray complex natures, single mum Diane, alias 'Die' ,(Anne Dorval), her teenage son Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon), who has the ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) condition and neighbour Kyla (Suzanne Clement), a teacher , who suffers from an acute stammer.

There are a number of explosive and frightening scenes behind the lace curtains inside the house of Die and Steve, as they engage in violent confrontations, sparked by her feisty nature, and his ready compulsion to express his true feelings, no matter the mental harm it inflicts on the recipient.

One of the likable traits of Steve is that he utters comments that most people would like to put across to others but due to social conventions, good manners, call it what you will, they desist from doing so to keep the peace.

Kyla is no shrinking violet either, despite the early impression that she is introverted and withdrawn following her mental breakdown,, not helped by being married to a dullard computer programmer.

It is quite a shock when she turns the tables on Steve, in regard to making sure the target of their vitriol is left in no doubt that they are not to be messed with.

Kyla brings happiness into the lives of Die - forming a warm friendship with her,
and acts as a home-based teacher to Steve. It also proves of therapy to her, losing her stammer whilst in their company, making her more self confident and assured.

Mommy, clocking in at 140 minutes is no easy ride but it is a awesome piece of filmmaking.

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