Mommy, Dolan’s fourth feature film, opens on March 20th in UK cinemas, having premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival where it picked up the Jury Prize – impressive for a director Praised for its vitality and maturity, the film tells the story of widowed Die, a single mother struggling to make ends meet and manage her highly strung, ADHD-suffering son Steve, and their painfully timid neighbour Kyla: as relationships develop in different ways, the film, we're told, a number of unexpected but powerful turns.
Made with Dolan’s characteristic vigour, Mommy is billed as a film that refuses to shy away from chaos, and seeks to animate the difficulties and triumphs of human life. Dolan's distinctive directorial style has already built him a reputation for being 'the blue eyed boy of international film festivals': and here the young director seems to have reached his most refined.
Mommy effectively denotes Dolan's own sense of urgency in filmmaking – an urgency that doesn't stray throughout the intensely personal cinematic experience of watching one of his films. An enlivening narrative about contemporary struggles, Dolan's spirited direction means Mommy is already being praised as his best film yet, and a worthy competitor with its international counterparts. Worth getting excited for? We think so.
Xavier Dolan’s Mommy is a complex Oedipal tale, but it wouldn’t be fair to reduce the feature to mere 'mommy issues'.
Steve's behavioural issues and volatility cause plenty of tension, but also lead to touching moments and instances of comic relief. Their neighbour Kyla, who suffers from the aftermaths of an enigmatic trauma, comes into her own through her interaction with Steve and his mother, diffusing their often claustrophobic intimacy.
The unique 1:1 aspect-ratio of the film intensifies, rather than contains the drama, whilst the few scenes in which the crowded screen widens to allow characters (and audiences) to breathe a brief sigh of relief are remarkably powerful thanks to this contrast.
Dolan’s latest feature film comes highly commended – it was a Cannes favourite – though one that might have benefited from a slightly shorter runtime and more rounded characters. Nevertheless, Dolan's Mommy is an emotionally engaging, if challenging, film, and given Dolan's reception in the past Mommy will no doubt meet with more positive reviews on its UK release. ★★★★★
|Where||Institut Français, 17 Queensberry Place , London, SW7 2DT | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
On 18 Mar 15, Preview screening 8.30pm
20 Mar 15 – 01 May 15, 7:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to go to the Ciné Lumière's website.|