Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
Forty-six year old Diane Després - "Die" - has been widowed for three years. Considered white trash by many, Die does whatever she needs, including strutting her body in front of male employers who will look, to make an honest living. That bread-winning ability is affected when she makes the decision to remove her only offspring, fifteen year old Steve Després, from her previously imposed institutionalization, one step below juvenile detention. She institutionalized him shortly following her husband's death due to Steve's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and his violent outbursts. He was just kicked out of the latest in a long line of facilities for setting fire to the cafeteria, in turn injuring another boy. She made this decision to deinstitutionalize him as she didn't like the alternative, sending him into more restrictive juvenile detention from which he would probably never be rehabilitated. However, with this deinstitutionalization, she has to take care of him ...Written by
A powerful well-acted and brilliantly directed film which may never reach the audience it deserves ... and that is because of the "elephant in the room."
Some auteurs, possessed of a single vision, will "paint" their story against an unusual backdrop to make it stronger. That backdrop can be anything from the emptiness of space, to the time of a past world war, to an imaginary future to a village in a country that never existed.
Such is the magic of film.
MOMMY uses the backdrop of French Canada. In its own way, with its own unique history, as exclusive and remote location as the one Sandra Bullock found herself in when her shuttle was damaged.
Everything about the film deserves attention, even the bizarre use of an exceptionally tight Aspect Ratio -- other reviewers have heaped praise on this bizarre affectation, but the TRUTH is that audiences around the globe will be on the phone with Tech Support 3 minutes after the credits roll, trying to figure out what just happened to their $5k home theatre system...?
The film is not only shot in French Canada but is one of the only so-called "mass appeal" films from Quebec to unleash that unusual Quebec dialect to the max (a dialect so obscure that even tourists from Paris France have trouble with it) and actually parade it, like a badge of honor, from scene to scene.
And therein lies the agony and the ecstasy.
As the earlier reviews show, Canadians in particular will look (listen?) past this and patiently seek the cinematic rewards therein. For them this is not a problem -- they have been trained to do this from birth, it is now part of their DNA.
Viewers from other parts of the globe may not be as forgiving, however, and this creates both paradox and dissonance. And limits the ambit of the film's true audience.
Which is a pity. Quel dommage.
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