Mommy Review – Character Driven Brilliance

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Mommy, from TeleFilm Canada and Roadside Attractions, brings to the screen a deeply concerning story of a widowed mother, her bi-polar violent son, a traumatized neighbor and the choices, intersections and decisions contemporary life presents.

Written and directed by Xavier Dolan, Mommy stars Anne Dorval as Diane, Antoine-Oliver Pilon her bi-polar violent son, Steve, and Suzanne Clement, a neighbor, Kyla, who is drawn unto their lives by chance.

Mommy opens with  black card, voice over and white typeface, setting the tone for the viewer as in 2015 a fictional law has been passed in modern Canada which allows parents to have violent children institutionalized without questioning or investigation.

Our Diane, Di, is a hot mess. We meet her as she is struggling to free herself from her automobile that has just been broadsided. She, of course, is fine. The car totaled. It is simply one more thing in an ever increasing pile of merde that is falling on our recently widowed and financially challenged single mom.

Bleeding, she manages to regain her composure and wits to make a meeting where she is told, for what is probably the umpteenth time her son suffers from mental disorders which leave him prone to violence, bi-polar, AHD, ADD, and every disorder known to modern Sigmund voids who derive a secret thrill from watching the world fall apart with the news.

Our Di, an attractive widow, lost her husband three years ago who, while seemed to love and provide, was an inventor, not so together on the financial front and left them unprotected. Her life went from easy to heavy leaden in a instant.

At this particular meeting, Di learns her son, Steve, has attempted to microwave another child. Steve, 15, has serious mommy issues, having lost his father, come hell or high water he will not lose his mother and clearly not to a man who wants nothing more than to use her for sex.  

What follows are the high highs and low lows of living in a bi-polar world. Steve is unable to function with other students and Di faces a life she doesn’t like and is not accustomed to living.

Kyla, a shy, and stuttering neighbor, an apparent easy target, happened to be an on sabbatical from teaching high school.

A trio of misfits whose souls have been deeply damaged by the unfairness of life are brought together by chance, fate, kismet, happenstance or whatever one attributes those forces in nature that manipulate circumstances to bring about cataclysmic moments.

Di and Kyla become friends, an escape for Kyla whose home holds the tragedies of her own loss, she parties with carefree Di,  who parties to forget the present and remember the past and the camaraderie of another female they talk of lives past, hopes, wine fueled free conversations.

Steve is an adolescent who is discovering his sexuality and with hormones ranging he has no outlet for the rage and now a driven desire, which like his other emotions, runs at speeds uncommon to most.

Each character is given ample screen time and, as if it were the last, rise to remarkable pinnacles. Handed this prize possession the actors abandoned themselves into the role and world and the outcome captivates.

Mommy is brilliant. A performance driven masterpiece with world class acting all around; the stunning range and depth of the talent is inspiring.

Fascinating and interesting Mommy is absorbing and intriguing.

Mommy is playing nationwide in select cities. Check local listing. It is worth the search. See it.

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