Movie Suggestion XXXI: Mommy
Country: Canada – 2014
Directed by: Xavier Dolan
Starring: Anne Dorval, Antoine-Olivier Pilon, Suzanne Clément
Plot: A feisty widowed single mom finds herself burdened with the full-time custody of her unpredictable 15-year-old ADHD son. As they struggle to make ends meet, Kyla, the peculiar new neighbor across the street, offers her help. Together, they find a new sense of balance, and hope is regained (Lionsgate)
“The flamboyantly coiffed Quebecois writer-director who put the auteur into hauteur, Xavier Dolan has enjoyed a sensational career rise over the last five years, going from teenage actor to Cannes Competition contender at the ridiculously young age of 25. Dolan’s fondness for operatic, style-saturated histrionics onscreen and tetchy narcissism in person tends to divide critics and juries.
But Dolan’s fifth feature feels like a strong step forward, striking his most considered balance yet between style and substance, drama-queen posturing and real heartfelt depth. A lusty character study of a working-class Montreal single mother and her emotionally damaged teenage son, Mommy should have plenty of potential commercial appeal beyond Dolan’s hard-core art house fan base. This could be his Blue Is The Warmest Color moment. The Ego has landed.
Dolan may well have read the Canadian music critic Carl Wilson’s extraordinary book defending Dion against highbrow snobbery, Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste. If not, he should. Because Mommy feels like a similarly joyous celebration of the raw emotionalism and cultural richness of Quebec’s Francophone working class. In any case, it is Dolan’s warmest, most humane and least narcissistic film to date.” (hollywoodreporter.com)
“(…) a film of suffocating power and surprising warmth. Stripping himself of his stylistic borrowings from other directors, Dolan has found his own urgent voice and visual style. Mommy doesn’t aim for classical grandeur. Instead, it bursts through the screen with the rough vitality of real people, who love not wisely but too well.” (time.com)
“Composed of one unpredictable scene after another without the meandering self-indulgence of previous films, “Mommy” feels as if Dolan has deliberately unlearned everything he’s seen onscreen before and embraced a fresh naivete that allows him to seek the most direct, honest and emotional way of communicating any given feeling. At times, the film ignores narrative altogether, fetishizing one of Die’s mismatched outfits or delving into a vivid anecdote, a la hilarious box-wine scene. The result is as personal as ever, an ecstatic celebration not only of mothers, but of the two incredible actresses Dolan has adopted as muses along the way.”
January 7, 2015