I Killed My Mother (2009) (Not Rated)
Teenage moodiness—the curse of all young people trying to break through that dreaded barrier of the second decade. It's also the bane of all parents who have to deal with said young people.
"I Killed My Mother" is movie about a relationship between a mother and a son and how that relationship is under great strain.
When the movie opens, Hubert Minel (Xavier Dolan) is explaining to the camera (much like a dramatic Woody Allen) about his mother. It's not that he doesn't love his mother—he even says that if someone hurt her, he would most certainly kill them—but he finds that he loves other people more than his mother...hundreds even.
Quarreling is always on screen, there is rarely a scene in which Hubert and his mother (Anne Dorval) are not fighting. They squabble over the littlest things, like what channel to listen to when they're driving or where to eat dinner on the weekend.
Conversations heat up rather quickly and we see Hubert, in a fit of overwhelming emotion, say to his mother more than once, "I hate you!"
She shrugs it off and says that if he doesn't like how she is parenting, then he can move out of the house...of course, when he suggests that he should move out, she rejects this idea. Hubert is not even 18 years old, and his mother feels like he should still live at home until he at least reaches that milestone in age.
The way that the script (written by Dolan) handles the conversations between mother and child is staggeringly mature for a work that was written when Dolan was 16. It manages to capture the irrationality that adults have and the childishness that teenagers have and doesn't sway one way or the other—it's perfectly fair to both the parent and the progeny.
To write a synopsis of the plot would be frivolous because not much happens in "I Killed My Mother"—one scene blends into the next one so delicately and beautifully that it creates one of the truly unique cinematic experiences one can have.
"I Killed My Mother" is not as graphic or dramatic as its title might imply, it is not a strict drama, but is a comedy neither. There are funny moments and there are moments of blistering intimacy that can transform the screen in a single second with just a sentence.
The film itself tackles a wide array of heartaches and happiness: there is an empathetic teacher, a lover, a father who is not present, and a mother who seems to love Hubert more than his own mom does.
This film was written and directed by Xavier Dolan who created a near masterpiece before he was even 20 years old: I feel humbled and...yes, a bit jealous. Some people take all the talent.
"I Killed My Mother" felt very intimate to me, as if Dolan had made this movie just for my viewing—that's not easy to accomplish.
Hubert is a new sort of protagonist: moody, creative, gay, not without a conscience, and torn between love and hatred.
Cutting right down to business: this film is great. It is not great because of the age of the film maker—it was great regardless of that, but it is even more impressive because of the youth of the man behind the camera.
The film is directed in a similar way to Gus Van Sant (one of Dolan's heroes) because it doesn't try to over-think or over-complicate.
Beautiful narrative, beautiful ending, beautiful movie.
Score: 4 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones