Mommy: Film Review


I will openly admit that I had never heard of French-Canadian writer/director/all-round super dude Xavier Dolan before Mommy was released last year and won a ton of awards. But this is his fifth feature and it is a remarkable piece of work. It follows Diane ‘Die’ (Anne Dorval) as she struggles to cope with raising her troubled, sometimes violent son Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) with the help of her neighbour Kyla (Suzanne Clement) who home schools him.

It is not an easy watch but you will become involved with the characters within no time. You feel sorry for Die, who is fabulously trashy with the worst dress sense, and you cannot comprehend the level of stress and exhaustion she must be under having to deal with Steve. I enjoyed the dialogue immensely because it built the characters so well and made all three so realistic and believable. The characterisation is impressive, although I would have liked more about Kyla’s past.

There are some key scenes here which we shot beautifully. I loved the slo-mo shots of Steve riding down the road on his longboard listening to Wonderwall and another of them dancing in the kitchen to Celine Dion. Music plays a huge part in Mommy and there were some great choices. I also thought Clement was brilliant as the mysterious and guarded Kyla, who suffers from a stutter.

However, it did go on far too long. I loved everything about the whole thing until about 30-40 minutes from the end. It lost its impact by going on too much so the ending lost its edge. There are also some moments where the acting verges on melodrama. It is a great study of a mother and son relationship and so involving. I’m in awe of Dolan, who is only 25.

Out now 

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