MOMMY – Rated R

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Writer & Director Xavier Dolan brings to life a foreign film that touches at your soul, and makes you ache for any mother who must face the reality of institutionalizing their child, with his latest creation – MOMMY.  

Constantly stressed and trying to make the best of life after the sudden death of her husband, Diane “Die” Despres’ (Anne Dorval) finds herself adrift, trying to do what is best for her teenage son Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon), who has ADHD combined with a very violent temper.

Torn between doing what is best for Steve – which may be institutionalizing him – or trying to fix everything with the unconditional Love she has for her son, Die brings Steve back home to adjust to “normal” life.

Forced to move yet again, Die is befriended by her new neighbor Kyla (Suzanne Cle’ment), who seems to know just what to do with Steve in order to keep him calm and feel secure in his new home. Die and Kyla’s constant interaction seems to form a friendship, that both have apparently needed in their lives, for quite some time.

As Die searches to find a job, and Kyla steps up to help her with Steve, all seems to be going well – that is until the violent outbursts arrive – leaving everyone at a loss on what to do.

Hoping that once again, her love and compassion for her son can help aid him with his disease, Die is forced to realize that maybe the only hope that her son has, is to be placed back in an institution, safe from the cruelty of the outside world, and from himself too…

I give MOMMY a B: I have seen very few films that can hold a candle to the incredible heart wrenching storyline and emotional turmoil that unfolds within each frame of this film. Dorval is absolutely incredible as the mother struggling to do what is right for her son, yet trying not to loose herself in the process. Pilon is also fantastic as the son striving to become a man, and a “good” son, even though each day seems to hold new obstacles if finding true happiness, every step of the way. And the friend/teacher/confidant role that Cle’ment portrays on screen adds even more realism to this incredibly painful real-life drama. You will literally ache for each character in this film, as they try, with every fiber in their being, to do what they think is best for the people they love, only to find that there may be no RIGHT ANSWER to make their lives complete, no matter what they do…

Kathy Kaiser