Director: Xavier Dolan
Cast: Anne Dorval, Suzanne Clément, Antoine-Olivier Pilon
In theatres: 8th October 2014
It is true that some movie critics have confused the main subject of “Mommy” with that of “I killed my mother”. “Mommy” is about a single mum in her forties who wants to stay young forever. Her only problem is that the son she has brought up on her own has a violent personality. This is one of the very rare contemporary movies that turns around the character of the mother.
Characters and evolution:
1-Die: Die is a mum in her forties who refuses the idea of ageing. The movie shows this in the way she dresses, in her choice of accessories and finally in her behaviour. In the beginning of the movie, she is presented to the spectator as an egocentric mom who only thinks about her life and of the moment. Her story remains mysterious. The film ends and she is again presented in the same way as in the beginning. But her character has evolved all through the film. Everything has changed after her son returned to her house, after she saw the bad side of the man she was hanging out with. More than anything else, Die changed after she became friends with Kyla.
2-Steve: Steve is a teenager with serious behavioural problems. No one can hate this character, not even after his violent hysterical crisis. Deep inside Steve we can find strong feelings for his mother and the people he loves. This is a simple representation of people who have true feelings for others but have some difficulty to share them. They usually do it in bad ways instead of choosing simple means.
3-Kyla: Kyla is a good housewife who is raising a child. She has no social life and she spends all her time imprisoned in her big house watching others outside. She is very shy and fears any kind of communication. Steve and Die will help this woman to change and will show her an inextinguishable taste of real life despite all the problems. These three characters will develop true roots of honest friendship and trust.
Xavier Dolan has chosen to shoot his movie using the 4/3 format except for one scene where the format progressively changes in a shot that expresses freedom. The art direction remains exotic and unique throughout the whole movie. It is a mixture of Quebecois fashions from the 90s and the early 2000s. The mother’s wardrobe is meticulously chosen to make us understand her psychology without doubt. This director’s shots and his framing are among the most beautiful and revolutionary in contemporary cinema. The use of out-of-focus frames indicates precision and professionalism.
Treatment and evolution:
The visual concretisation of the characters’ evolution is the base of “Mommy”. The plot of this movie follows exactly the american model of script development. It consists of three layers of danger. The first layer is the insecurity that lives in each character. The second is the development of each of them and their changes towards each other. And the external dangers are instability and fear: Kyle’s financial situation and her neighbours’ work problems that force them to move away. The characters evolve logically but violently.
The three main actors dance in Die’s kitchen to Céline Dion’s song ‘On ne change pas’.
Personally, I find Mommy a very touching movie where violence and love are joined together. In addition, I am also proud of this young director who knew how to impose his art and how to earn his place next to Godard at Cannes. He is a symbol of hope to his generation which holds his youth against him. This is a movie about friendship, life and pure love.