Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Xavier Effect

Dancing with Mommy to Eifel 65
I'm a good kid ya know?
You win some, you lose some
That's life.
The Stevie Effect

Xavier Dolan was only 25 when
he made this film. What is more
incredible is that he was around
21 when he made his debut film
I Killed My Mother. Young 
directors are always a wake up
call for me because at 28, I still
haven't made a movie. Orson 
Welles was 26 when he made 
Citizen Kane. PT Anderson was
26 when he made Hard Eight. 
By that rate, they seem lazy 
compared to Dolan's output 
at his age. 

The first film of Dolan I had
decided to watch was 
Laurence Anyways.
It was a 3 hour opus that had
a fantastic ballroom sequence.
Yet, I felt something was 
missing. I felt the length of
that 3 hour opus. He could
have trimmed it down a 

Upon seeing Mommy,
something clicked for me.
This film felt so honest.
The first thing was the 
performances. I had liked
the performances of 
Laurence Anyways,
but his actors reach 
a new level here.

Ann Dorval, an actress he 
has used in multiple films,
gives a performance that 
is flamboyant yet tender.
It is matched by Antione
Olivier Pilon's 
hyperactive, ADHD
riddled Steve. This 
kid's face goes through 
a multitude of emotions
as battle scars from cabbies,
a neighbor and his own 
beloved mother are 
inflicted upon it. 

Tantrums are thrown. 
Fists are clenched.
Bottles are broken.
Feelings are put through
the ringer with liberal 
doses of hard earned truth. 

What this film brought out in me was a realization, or more accurately, a confirmation, that in a time when so many films depicting ever evolving mother/son relationships or just family relationships, few are able to be as intimate as Dolan's work here. Through the pulsing beats of Eifel 65, Lana Del Ray, Oasis and the rest of the soundtrack, to the rawness of Dolan's camerawork. A simple pan down to a pant leg brings such revelations about a character. Films at their best represent the purest of artistic expression. Mommy is able to break free of the constraints of cinema and transcend to dark corners of the experience of a mother and her son that rarely have light shown upon. 

I wish I could write more.
But the light is green.
It's time to go.
Feet don't fail me now.


  1. I'm crying! Yes!!!! You mention so many points that I reference in my review too...especially that pan down to the pant legs. UGH...this film gives me all the feels. My favorite film of last year and possibly ever.

    Now you understand why it's the banner picture for my site :-D

  2. Thank you so much for the comment! I can't stop thinking about this one.

  3. I agree Mommy felt honest, as if he drew from his own life experience. The acting and soundtrack are phenomenal. I love his filmmaking style. Dolan is certainly among the most promising new filmmakers, I just hope he doesn't sell out by making English language films in Hollywood.

  4. I hope that what happened to John Woo, doesn't happen to him.