Saturday, April 18, 2015


A running theme throughout Xavier Dolan's films involves focusing on strained relationships, particularly those of the familial sort. The most telling film with this theme is his debut I Killed My Mother. (Tom at the Farm is a lesser example.) But his newest film Mommy depicts a more volatile mother-son relationship than Dolan's first film.

Mommy focuses on the fraying bond between Diane (Anne Dorval) and her ADHD-addled son Steve (Antoine Olivier Pilon). In a fitting gesture, Dolan casts Dorval once again as the suffering matriarch. (She did such a role before in I Killed My Mother.) But there are very distinct differences between Dolan's first and newest films.

While I Killed My Mother is told from the perspective of the son, Mommy is clearly told from the perspective of the mother. And with the different points of views, both films don't want the viewer to take sides. They just want you to watch the chaos unravel.

And as expected from a Dolan film, the performances are great. Dorval and Suzanne Clement, both Dolan regulars, provide an insight into two complex women. (You just don't see roles like these in many American films, do you?) And Pilon, a complete unknown outside of Canada prior to this, definitely shows promise for a thriving career.

Mommy is a fantastic film. Thanks to the work from Dolan, Dorval, Pilon and Clement, it's a portrait of the stormy bonds we share in our lives. Seriously, be sure to see it.

My Rating: *****


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