Xavier Dolan, the French-Canadian boy-wonder is at it again. The currently 25-year-old writer/director -- I Killed My Mother, Heartbeats, Laurence Anyways (we haven't been theatrically graced yet with 2013's Tom at the Farm) -- is still having some trouble growing up. Hell, so do we all. But most of us do not make overlong, boring and repetitive movies (yes, with some brilliant stuff in them, now and again) out of the experience. MOMMY, Dolan's latest endeavor, is yet another look, in pointlessly small-screen mode (more of this later) at an extremely troubled relationship between mother and son.
Alberto E. Rodriguez, courtesy of Getty Images), generally chooses some excellent actors to use as bait and gives them surprising, often shocking stuff to say and do. Initially, we're hooked. And then, little by little -- at least for those of us who want more than a lot of repeated yelling, cursing and getting all in-your-face -- we become so annoyed and tired of it all that we slowly remove ourselves from that hook. And so it is here: for every fine acting moment and bit of choice dialog, there are several more that grow awfully wearisome.
Anne Dorval, above) and teenage child (Antoine-Olivier Pilon, below), a not particularly unusual problem, one would think that the filmmaker could have handled this without this pointless if-things-were-otherwise element.
Suzanne Clément, above) who has her own problems -- speech and communication among them -- gets involved with our pair, as mom's friend and son's "caretaker," and this of course leads to further "fraughtness." After now seeing four of Dolan's films, several things seem clear. Our boy likes 'em lengthy (this one runs two hours and twenty minutes) and repetitive. There are enough of what you'd call plot and content here to last an hour or so. The rest is filler, though handled at times with great passion.
Roadside Attractions, opens today in New York City (at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center) and in the West Los Angeles at The Landmark. It was, by the way, the Canadian entry for this year's Best Foreign Language Film.