Watch: A Gripping Tale About How Far A Mother Would Go For Her Son

Posted on May 20, 2016 in Video

By Rachit:

‘Mommy’ is a comedy-drama about three individuals who despite all the odds are trying their best to support each other. Directed by the Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan, Mommy is a far cry from what you would expect from a 26-year old filmmaker. Dolan is known for being a daring auteur who doesn’t believe in conventions; just like his previous films ‘Laurence Anyways’ and ‘Heartbeats’, in ‘Mommy’ we see the three central characters picking up pieces and finding love and support in each other. But only briefly. Dolan’s nuanced understanding of human life, of how no one really knows how to figure out things is reflected in the film when these characters are separated and re-exposed to the calamities and hardships of real life.

The film stars Anne Dorval as Diane, a single mother, who decides to home school her sometimes-violent son, Steve (played by Antoine-Olivier Pilon), a teenager living with ADHD. As a single parent, Diane struggles to provide for her son and is often overwhelmed by his actions. Help arrives when Kyla, an out of job teacher moves in next door with her family. Played by Suzanne Clément, Kyla finds herself disconnected from her husband and daughter, and strangely drawn to Diane and her son Steve. She finds love and friendship in both of them and is willing to help them. Together they form a tiny unit, providing support and experience happiness with each other.

One of the most striking features of this film is Dolan’s use of the claustrophobic 1:1 aspect ratio to provide his viewers a glimpse into the minds of the protagonists. To see the lives of these characters from their perspective, we are squeezed into a box. This radical technique allows us to feel their pain and anguish by placing us in a visual prison of sorts erected by internal and external forces. The screen opens up briefly, in moments of happiness and togetherness to show how short-lived this freedom is for these characters.

But what stands out the most is Dolan’s effort to talk about a mother’s anxiety. Not all moments between Diane and Steve are filled with compassion. It’s not just Steve’s mental health that overwhelms Diane; she is also put down constantly by her own choices. The film talks about struggles of a single mother and there are moments in which she finds herself helpless. As a viewer you don’t judge Diane for her decisions, you understand her challenges and appreciate her courage to keep it all going, both for herself and Steve.