Mother-son dynamic fuels intense drama [Review]

By Melanie Leung
By Melanie Leung |

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If you thought a film titled Mommy would be all mushy and lovey-dovey, you're wrong. This is because it's directed by 26-year-old Xavier Dolan, a French-Canadian who's known for his audacious films addressing human relationships.

Mommy is Dolan's fifth film in as many years, and it's his best offering yet. Mainly shot in the claustrophobic 1:1 ratio like an Instagram video, it explores a dynamic mother-son relationship in a wild, gripping drama.

Steve Després (a phenomenal Antoine-Olivier Pilon), 15, is institutionalised because of his violent outbursts and serious ADHD issues. After he sets fire to the cafeteria, his cash-strapped mother Diane (Anne Dorval) decides to home-school him. Their relationship is like a volcano of love and frustration, and it's fascinating to watch.

The story is made even more compelling with the addition of their neighbour Kyla (Suzanne Clément), a teacher taking time off to deal with a nervous breakdown, who tutors Steve while Diane goes to work.

There's no big lesson being preached in Mommy - it's wild in emotions, unpredictable in pace and sticks to no rules.