To direct, write, produce and star in your debut feature film at the age of nineteen is a great achievement in its self but to make one as accomplished and as honest as I Killed My Mother (2009) is a rarity. Xavier Dolan manages to present us with a semi biographical drama about the complications of a mother son relationship. How a son can love his mother without actually liking her. Dolan plays Hubert Minel a very defiant sixteen student who has been raised by his single mother Chantale (the wonderful Anne Dorval) since his father deserted them when Hubert was just seven years old. As Hubert got older he has learned to hate his mother and the pair bicker all the time - going as far as telling his teacher that she is dead! When Ms Cloutier (Suzanna Clement) finds out this is not true she accuses Hubert of killing his mother! The mother/son relationship gets somewhat worse when Chantale finds out from Hubert’s boyfriends mother that her son is gay. Consulting with her estranged husband its decided to send their son to a Catholic boarding school an action that in fact widens the gulf between Chantale and Hubert.
|The mother - son relationship.|
This deeply felt expose of the complexity of a mother and son relationship is obviously not rare but to see it portrayed with such understanding is a testament to Dolan’s own experiences. Although the movie did not have a general release in the UK, only screened at Film Festivals, it did however attract a great deal of international press attention when it quite rightly won three awards at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival where it received an eight minute standing ovation. With its imaginative camera work, its cleverly written dialog and its sense of underlying humour, which Dolan used again as the template for his next film Heartbeats (2010), its an entertainingly enjoyable movie His latest movie is Mommy (2014) which again stars Anne Dorval as a single mother and is due to be shown at the London Film Festival in October, following that we can only hope it will get a general release?