Saturday, August 21, 2021

Mommy (2014) directed by:Xavier Dolan

 I have been wanting to watch this film for years and when it came on TV I reordered it... and waited more years to play it. I do like the films of Xavier Dolan. Like most filmmakers he has his strong and weak points but overall I don't think anyone can really deny he is a serious and seriously good director/writer/actor and editor. I knew going on this was an intense one and it didn't let me down on that level. 

The story of a mother, her son with severe behavioural issues and the neighbour who befriends them, this film while not without humorous moments exposes its subjects and the difficulties they face directly and forced the viewer to deal with it all head on. Filmed in a 1:1 ratio like classic films were, the cramped square restricts and contains their lives and options. It's very effective and the cinematography and editing are amazing. The only quibble I have is the use of popular music throughout. It's not inappropriate but for me personally it takes me a little out of the story from time to time. 

The start of the movie has an overly long series of title cards outline how a new government has enacted a law that allows poor parent's of troubled kids to place them into hospital with basically no question asked. I think this could have been told in a short line of dialogue or some other way that didn't drag out the start of the film as it's a plot convenience and the story is not about it.

I do not want to spoil the film, though to be honest, there isn't much room for what happens at the end to progress in many other directions but there is point where the lives of the characters and literally the world of the film opens up for a brief time before it all closes in on them again. 

The there main actors Anne Dorval, Antoine Olivier Pilon and Suzanne Clément are stunning in their roles. Dolan's collaboration with the actors, particularly his long association with Dorval pays off with her giving a very real intense performance that will likely bring you to tears. Pilon keeps you n edge the entire running time. He never overplays his condition and makes it clear there is no predicting his behaviour from one moment to the next.  Clément with her stutter and reserved manner is a calming influence on the others and us. 

*I would like to give a pat on the back to out Québec productions. Less than 5 million $ to make this film which is typical and the quality is in line with anything I've seen at 100 million $. Proof that the success of a movie lies in it's tory, actors and technicians and dedication to strong ideas and situations over flash and high paid "stars". 

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