Surviving My Mother (2007) Poster

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Great dialog, directing and appropriate acting
Christian25 March 2009
Crisp dialog (even in the two deleted scenes) save the overlong suppository scenes that is supposed to be an example of everyday banality contrasting Bianca's frugality, is the backbone of this fine family drama.

Clara, has a dying mother (played brilliantly by Véronique Le Flaguais) which she took care of her whole life. Her husband is a household fixture and her lovely daughter, Bianca, is 21-year-old, smart and likable. She is slated to soon finish university and become all her mother ever wanted (her) to be.

The grandmother is openly bitter and refractive, yet Clara and Bianca have some unvoiced dissatisfactions of their own. As Clara looks at her mother and realizes that, although they have spent so much time together, her mother does not really know her, she tries to avoid the same mistake with her own daughter -- but what do you do when your daughter doesn't want to open up?

Caroline Dhavernas as Bianca is sincere, secretive and seductive and brings us into her well-written world of personal discovery. Her acting paired with Ellen David as Clara come together for an ending that may have seemed forced otherwise. The directing and editing are notable as many little details enhance the picture considerably and makes this relatively simple story stand out.

Content wise we find exploration of family, sexuality, death, freedom and interesting philosophies about multi-faceted people, unconditional love and aesthetics. In this balancing act, there is a fresh seldom seen positivity in morally questionable choices. The movie does not fall into the trap of right and wrong, but opens up many mental doors in interesting and challenging ways.

A fine picture despite the current low IMDb ratings. Give it a try and correct this aberration. For all involved in this project, I have sincere admiration.

Bon cinema !
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gripping exploration of in-family commitment and communication
John Frame17 September 2009
I loved Mambo Italiano and last week decided to check IMDb for any other films by the writer and director, and bought this DVD with due confidence.

"Surviving My Mother" is a radically different film to Mambo Italiano. It is much darker - though with quite a few genuine laughs. It really does fit the awkward genre "dramedy" - in much the same way as does "American Beauty".

I'm caring for my elderly and ailing mother, and as much as I love her and do my best to make her comfortable, I really don't expect to find her alive each morning. So the early part of this film spoke directly to me, as I'm sure it does to many others. We're witnessing heart rending truth in the death of the grand-mother, but it's a vital element for driving the rest of the story - which is of mother and daughter both realising that they have a small window of opportunity to really know each other and establish an ongoing honest relationship.

A strong cast and tight script are complemented by the superb direction and tasteful inventive visual effects - particularly in the projection of online chat text into the real world.

As with Mambo Italiano, the sound design and the soundtrack music are exceptional. "Surviving My Mother" abounds with love, life and passion.
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Good actors, decent directing, confused script
MagicJack553 November 2007
You will have mixed feelings about this movie. However, the remaining feeling for me is frustration : the cast and crew obviously has a lot of talent, but it wasn't used to its full potential.

This movie started pretty well, and the intrigue of Caroline Dhavernas character grew on me. It got me interested towards the end. Then, they ruined it. Boring, both the content and the way they revealed it.

The rest of the movie goes into too many directions. They tried to fit too many themes in one movie. While the other characters held their part well, they should have focused more on the mother and the daughter instead of wasting time on many scenes that didn't really add to the main plot.

The writer was obviously confused : he didn't know what ending to choose. He didn't have a clear idea from the start and it showed. Or maybe something bad happened during the shooting that prevented the original idea to be carried on the screen, but alas, we will never know.
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Very under-rated on IMDb
rgcustomer15 January 2010
Well, we all know to take IMDb ratings with a grain of salt, right? I think most unbiased viewers would probably give this something in the range of 7-8. I had trouble deciding, but I went with 8, slightly better than average.

To me, the film had the feel of something Almodóvar would have directed, and fans of his should also like this film.

Aside from the plot, which I won't spoil, I liked the music selections, the creative placement of text messages, the duality of the Yellow Woman, and the hunky priest.

Émile doesn't seem to direct many films (according to IMDb) and the only other one I've seen is Mambo italiano, but this one seems slightly better. Hopefully the trend continues.

Given what usually passes for English Canadian cinema, we're very lucky to have this film.
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emotional damage not done well enough
SnoopyStyle28 September 2013
Clara (Ellen David) is a dutiful mom, wife, and daughter. She scarifies to take care of her dying mother who hates her husband. Instead of being grateful, her mother tells her that she doesn't know her. She tries to change and reevaluate her own relationship with her daughter Bianca (Caroline Dhavernas). Only her promiscuous daughter is struggling with her own problems.

Ellen David seems ill at ease in this role. She just seems more at ease with a comedic role. She does some serious emotionally damaging things in this movie. She really needs to suffer for those emotions.

Caroline Dhavernas is simply too old to play this role. She's in her late 20s and that's what she looks like. The role starts at age 16 and goes till she's 21. She plays a sexually promiscuous role which would be so much shocking if she was closer to the actual age of the character.

This movie deals with some serious family dysfunctions, some serious emotional damage, and some serious personal growth. It has a couple of interesting scenes, but it just doesn't flow together as a compelling story.
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