Le new movie from Xavier Dolan poses his style from the first minute. MOMMY adopts a 1:1 size. A square image that is stifling considerably the action of the film (oh well, as in The last Track of Kelly Reichardt).
From the outset, this choice seems superficial and borrowed. The first scene, which sees the camera dance around a Anne Dorval in a light very Malickienne, we say that Xavier Dolan, good Tarantino of the stage that he is, will do us the demonstration of his know-how in terms of loosely of his illustrious master.
And it was not wrong. The film continues by calling Scorsese (the fast movements of the camera), Wong Kar Wai (the photo of the interior, the movements of the characters), P. T. A (the fortuitous accident – free, the beginning of the film), slowed down to the Wes Anderson… One has the impression that Xavier Dolan does even more than its staging there was nothing personal as he strives to constantly resume the gimmicks of other films, the ideas of other filmmakers…
Once this finding is made, and digested, it is necessary to analyze its effect : the propensity of plagiarism causes a real visual spectacle, and without loss of pace no, in the sense that it is an accumulation of beautiful effects (music included), and a permanent renewal.
A show that, little by little, tends to merge with the mood of the characters.
Their energy, anger, love, but also in a whole range of feelings intermediaries, is to be found in this melting pot productions, is an echo ideal.
Xavier Dolan, if he is a plagiarist gifted, is also a writer and a director of actors off-hand.
He has fun with the language. The québécois French (and English, secondarily), we concoct dialogues, mind-boggling violence, gentleness, humour, energy and precision, either recited with fury by Anne Dorval and Antoine Olivier Pilon, and leaves us, spectators, to the verge of exhaustion after each scene.
Xavier Dolan also uses the music as a dialogue, between the characters, but also more or less indirectly with the spectator, by their resonant pop immediate. “Wonderwall” (Oasis), or “We do Not Change” (Céline Dion) or “Born to Die” (Lana Del Rey) are very suggestive for our generations, as much as they express the feelings of Steve, Diane and Kyla.
Xavier Dolan succeeds in communicating thanks to all this, the despair of his characters behind the violence of their trade. Social despair, despair, emotional… it Has the force of daring, he even managed to make legitimate some of the effects that could have seemed too exaggerated at the beginning of the film, such as, for example, the format of the image, which, in the end, beyond the gimmick, contains in some way the emotions of the film (thankfully !).
A good idea, even if Xavier Dolan is struggling to find the boundary between formal proof and accompaniment of the characters.
“A staging impersonal but abounding, at the service of actors, illuminated by the talent of the dialogue writer, and the direction of actors and the sensitivity of Xavier Dolan.”
If not, MOMMY, it is also a story. Very personal, it is obvious.
Xavier Dolan talks about (yet) the figure of the mother, but shall convene a kind of completeness of feelings in excess made by Anne Dorval, a character to Die : the actress is like a ball of pure energy, a adolescent woman with the flow voluble, vulgar, but sometimes calculated. She hides in his speech, intelligence and a smooth, difficult to perceive. Xavier Dolan is not an executioner or a victim, but a Woman, whose love for his son gives him a strength and assurance that only Steve can break.
Steve is the slope exalted to Die (that is to say, the energy that runs through the film !). He can’t express his feelings and chooses to expose them with violence. A way to gain a certain charisma, impress his mother, to earn his respect and then his love. This violence, unfortunately, is directed as much towards others as towards his own mother or himself.
Two characters integers that Xavier Dolan does not choose to lead towards psychological or another… rather It is for him, to express multiple facets of his own sensitivity and see what the result is.
His wrath, his gentleness, his moral turpitude, through Steve, a mixture of mother-the ideal mother-reality and of the mother-character-to-Movie through Die.
Is a mess of emotions, a whirlwind, which by its non-calculated, and shows a true sincerity.
It is at this time that the character of Kyla, played with skill and subtlety by Suzanne Clément, takes on added significance : it is a house-wife stammering, exhausted by life and that leaves little by little its role of wife/mother to become a catalyst of emotions in the story between Steve and Die. A character that boosts a narrative line relatively absent. It allows to the other two, to define a common direction.
A shame that Xavier Dolan may choose to indicate a little bit too early what will be this direction, the lack of surprise that this causes only reinforces the superficiality of its staging, the staging of which had managed to disappear under the energy of the film.
In the end, what gives meaning to MOMMY it is the sensitivity of Xavier Dolan and his gift for directing actors. The mise en scene, or even its subject, contrary to what is suggested, go after.
It is paradoxical, but also effective. And then, this is what we demand in the cinema, that it makes us feel something.
Xavier Dolan, without realizing it, and succeeded. Not like he had to imagine it, but all the same.
• Realization : Xavier Dolan
• Screenplay : Xavier Dolan
• Main actors : Anne Dorval, Suzanne Clément, Antoine-Olivier Pilon, Patrick Huard
• Country of origin : Canada
• Output : Coming Soon
• Duration : 2h14mn
• Distributor : MK2, Diaphana Distribution
• Synopsis : Steve comes out of an establishment for young people to problem and returned to live with his mother Diane. This family mono-parental struggle to find one’s family’s stability.