Mommy Screen 19 articles

Mommy

2014

Mommy Poster
  • When Dolan shoots Steve pirouetting on a stolen shopping cart for five minutes to the tune of the Counting Crows’ “Colorblind,” or Steve clowning around over top of Oasis’ “Wonderwall,” or Steve throwing a tantrum backed by Eiffel 65 (with all of these songs blared in their entirety), it’s exhausting in a way that goes beyond counterintuitive into the realm of aural torture.

  • Without negative space to work with, Dolan’s work simply sits on the screen without much internal meaning; he’s limited to the necessary space without much room to consider exactly how his characters should be framed to psychologically engage them.

  • The low point of the festival was the decision by the Jane Campion–led jury to award the Jury Prize—sounds great but it’s actually the third prize—to both the oldest and the youngest directors in the Competition, Godard and Xavier Dolan... Dolan’s one-gimmick, pandering-to-the-youth-vote Mommy is not worth a kick in the butt.

  • Willfully over determined and perversely stylized, “Mommy,” the fifth directorial feature from young filmmaker Xavier Dolan was certainly an attention-getter at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, where the jury obliged it to share a prize with Ye Olde Postmodernist Jean-Luc Godard’s latest, “Goodbye To Language.” To paraphrase Public Enemy, in the case of Dolan’s picture you might be well advised to look skeptically upon what is, to this critic’s eye, a hype.

  • As [Dolan] grows older, his fixation on close mother-son relationships grows slightly queasier, though judging from reactions, I'm something of an outlier in finding "Mommy" an irritating sit. (Some people claim it's a serious contender for the Palme d'Or.) ... The claustrophobic shape allows Dolan to avoid most of the niceties of good composition; an unstructured, rambling narrative complements the haphazard visuals.

  • Dolan’s champions typically regard his youth as a fetish or an excuse, and their ranks are likely to grow with this apparently crowd-pleasing mother-son melodrama, sodden with maudlin theatrics and shot in a perfect-square, Instagram-ready aspect ratio (for no discernible reason other than for the frame to stretch into widescreen at upbeat moments).

  • Mommy handily exhibits Dolan’s typical strengths and weaknesses: a certain headstrong vision, visual panache, and the ability to craft genuine emotional climaxes (here: a straitjacketed Steve’s phone call to his mother late in the piece), but also numerous moments of unhinged gaucherie, and a proclivity to partake in faddish trends (here: changing the aspect ratio mid-film).

  • If it merits no other superlative, Mommy is unquestionably the most hyperactive movie of the year. It begins at a fever pitch and maintains that degree of in-your-face intensity for well over two hours, to either exhilarating or exhausting effect, depending on one’s tolerance level.

  • [Laurence Anyways] was missing Dolan’s own clarifying presence as an actor, and for all its length Laurence Anyways seemed to have scenes missing, as if Dolan kept following his rococo visual impulses but couldn’t keep clear focus on the central relationship. And that problem has only intensified in Mommy, which runs 139 minutes but only deals with three main characters, none of them in depth.

  • "Mommy," his fifth movie in as many years, brings the director back to themes of maternal angst and teen alienation first seen in "I Killed My Mother," but cranks up the intensity with a terrific calibration of first-rate performances and emotional engagement. As Dolan's characters endure a series of seismic up and downs, the movie maintains a vitality and movement that goes beyond craftsmanship to illustrate Dolan's evolution as an artist.

  • A kind of Xavier Dolan Lee Daniels film, fat with acting and shot in rich fluorescent beige, "Mommy" isn't his most sophisticated work -- but it's one that nevertheless demonstrates how much he's grown in the five years that separate it from "I Killed My Mother."

  • Dolan embraces passion and melodrama to a refreshing degree, and Dorval and Clément are terrific. But “Mommy” (which shared the Jury prize at Cannes last year) can be exhausting; the structure and plot rhythms are all over everywhere. A montage to “Wonderwall” (every last note of it) seems to sum up the movie; too much, but exhilarating all the same.

  • Mommy feels perpetually uneven throughout its runtime, but when Dolan's tremendous empathy for the abandoned, medicated, and economically stressed is given full visual flight, it's easy to get lost in the rush.

  • On a few notable occasions, it is Steve and Die themselves who open up the frame and expand the possibilities of their world. In this regard, Mommy is an impressive revision of the melodramatic tradition, which usually implies a cruel director-god punishing women by subjecting them to impossible moral conundrums. Instead, Dolan creates a universe in which he is in league with those who face the impossible. They, not the filmmaker, are the ones who have to find their way.

  • There’s no attempt at respectability or post facto moral corrections for this one. It might be the most gloriously obnoxious movie to screen so far. There’s not much “about.” ...Steve refuses to take medication. So does Dolan’s filmmaking. He gets the camera up close to his three stars and lets them rip. The screaming and furious cursing is unlike any profanity you’ve ever heard.

  • [Wonderwall] is just one of the un-Dolan-y musical choices. Here, the prince regent of the hipster set says goodbye to all that via Dido, Counting Crows, Eiffel 65 and Lana Del Rey. Most extraordinary of all, these choices work, creating a fitting soundscape for a misfit mother-son couple who enjoy themselves furiously in the small windows where it’s possible.

  • It’s difficult not to get a little irritated by Xavier Dolan. Barely 25, with five films already under his belt and a Cannes Jury Prize last year shared with Godard, the hyperactive, immodest, and prodigiously talented French-Canadian filmmaker can be exasperating. It is even harder, though, not to be dazzled by his precociousness, his ravenous energy, and the emotional intensity of his work.

  • Mommy is a thunderstorm of neon emotions and a transformative experience—bold and colorful but by no means superficial. The truth of its onscreen mother-son relationship, beautifully captured by Anne Dorval and Antoine-Olivier Pilon, is painstakingly intense, piercingly accurate and observed by a tender, vulnerable but mature gaze.

  • Even Dolan’s detractors acknowledge that he is an astute finder/director of actresses, and Mommy adds an unexpected layer of joy and complexity with the arrival of Suzanne Clément as neighbour Kyla, on the scene.

More Links