The latest work from Xavier Dolan was shown at the 2015 Glasgow Film Festival and confirmed why I now consider the Canadian born actor, writer and director one of the best young modern filmmakers and has certainly become a favourite of Movie Ramble. Shot on 35mm film stock and presented in the narrow 1:1 aspect for most of the film, Mommy (2014) returns to the mother and son relationship first tackled in his debut film I Killed My Mother (2009) in which he manages to present us with a semi biographical drama about the complications of such a relationship. It again stars the absolutely brilliant French-Canadian actress Anne Dorval in the lead role of Diane Despres.
Mental illness and domestic distress are the foundations for this exceptional study of a three way human relationship. Diane is a widow whose hyperactive son Steve (Antoine-Oliver Pilon) is expelled from the institution he has been kept in since the death of his father when he became uncontrollable. When he returns home mother is overwhelmed by the task of looking after her wayward son, having enough problems looking after herself, the relationship proves to be emotionally stormy. But fortunately Diane befriends their new tongue-tied neighbour Kyla (Suzanne Clement) who turns out to be just what the relationship required.
The film, which won the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, focuses on character, allowing its audience to empathies with all three of the main protagonists and never forcing you to judge them. A piece of cinematic work that has true emotional depth and like the rest of the directors oeuvre it’s has cleverly written dialog and a great sense of humour. Dolan also provides us with an accomplished soundtrack that includes the likes of Counting Crows, Oasis and Beck. All three main leads give top class performances but Anne Dorval deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her astonishing performance. A tender humorous movie that deserves to be widely seen but only has a selected release in UK cinemas: why?