Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

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mfunk9786
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Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#1 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:23 pm

U.S. Trailer for Xavier Dolan's masterpiece Mommy, apparently slated for a quick Oscar qualifying run and then an arthouse U.S. release in late January 2015. See it.

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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#2 Post by Zot! » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:15 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:U.S. Trailer for Xavier Dolan's masterpiece Mommy, apparently slated for a quick Oscar qualifying run and then an arthouse U.S. release in late January 2015. See it.
Are we really serious of a cinema feature in fucking Galaga aspect ratio? It looks to be infuriating. I think it would be great for a web series or something, but at the theater, no.

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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#3 Post by Jeff » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:23 pm

Zot! wrote:
mfunk9786 wrote:U.S. Trailer for Xavier Dolan's masterpiece Mommy, apparently slated for a quick Oscar qualifying run and then an arthouse U.S. release in late January 2015. See it.
Are we really serious of a cinema feature in fucking Galaga aspect ratio? It looks to be infuriating. I think it would be great for a web series or something, but at the theater, no.
1:1 isn't that much different than the 1.19 of City Lights, M, Vampyr, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Sunrise, The Blue Angel, Lonesome, The Threepenny Opera, and dozens of other masterpieces.

Also, what the hell is wrong with Galaga?

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#4 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:58 am

I had a magnificent time at the theater both times I saw this, so. To each their own.

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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#5 Post by HJackson » Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:49 am

Jeff wrote:1:1 isn't that much different than the 1.19 of City Lights, M, Vampyr, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Sunrise, The Blue Angel, Lonesome, The Threepenny Opera, and dozens of other masterpieces.
Not to mention that Dolan has already shown himself capable of making good use of taller aspect ratios with the gorgeous Laurence Anyways. I've been excited for this for months but it still doesn't seem to have a UK release date.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#6 Post by Superswede11 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:34 pm

I loved it. Dolan uses the aspect ratio cleverly and its effects are potent, making every shot feel dynamic and personal.
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The widescreen portions are perfect too, clearly communicating psychological and emotional information through a change in aspect ratio. The Wonderwall moment was majestic and received a gasp from everyone in the theater (which was only about 6 people, sadly), and the jarring transition back to the claustrophobic ratio as the characters fight was just as heartbreaking
I also appreciate the level of understanding the film gives to its characters as well as their emotions and perspectives. Dolan doesn't let the audience off the hook with any kind of distance or judgement, which is powerful, especially when the characters are nearing the extremes of behavior. Mommy is my first Dolan but if any of his other films approach this level of passion, energy, and skill, I'm in.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#7 Post by criterionsnob » Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:36 pm

Just realized there was a Canadian blu-ray release of Mommy last Tuesday, which I hadn't seen announced anywhere else.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#8 Post by criterion10 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:24 pm

I believe Lionsgate is only releasing this on DVD, which makes the Canadian Blu-Ray a must-own (there are English subtitles, right?).

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#9 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:05 pm

For some reason, Amazon.ca can't ship it to USA addresses.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#10 Post by criterionsnob » Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:32 pm

criterion10 wrote:I believe Lionsgate is only releasing this on DVD, which makes the Canadian Blu-Ray a must-own (there are English subtitles, right?).
There are English subtitles on the main feature, but the commentary is in French with no subtitles. It's a lovely digipack.

I just picked the blu-ray up this afternoon and haven't watched it yet. I took a quick look and noticed that the subtitles were cut off at the bottom of the screen until I changed my TV setting to "Screen Fit", which is odd. Perhaps something to do with the unusual aspect ratio, or maybe just an authoring mistake.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#11 Post by TMDaines » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:40 am

People really need to capture this on the big screen while they can. It's a superb film and the use of multiple aspect ratios comes into full effect in the cinema. I'm a United fan and it was fantastic to beat Liverpool away 2-1 on Sunday, but I might have even enjoyed watching this more on the Saturday! Any Brit will understand that as high praise indeed!

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#12 Post by ivuernis » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:28 am

TMDaines wrote:People really need to capture this on the big screen while they can. It's a superb film and the use of multiple aspect ratios comes into full effect in the cinema.
I've ordered the blu-ray from Amazon.ca but I was under the impression it was all shot in the 1:1 aspect ratio? Or is it like The Grand Budapest Hotel with multiple ARs?
TMDaines wrote:I'm a United fan and it was fantastic to beat Liverpool away 2-1 on Sunday, but I might have even enjoyed watching this more on the Saturday! Any Brit will understand that as high praise indeed!
Indeed they will :-) and how I chortled when that red card was shown! As an Irishman living in the UK I had extra cause to celebrate this weekend as you may imagine.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#13 Post by TMDaines » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:23 am

ivuernis wrote:
TMDaines wrote:People really need to capture this on the big screen while they can. It's a superb film and the use of multiple aspect ratios comes into full effect in the cinema.
I've ordered the blu-ray from Amazon.ca but I was under the impression it was all shot in the 1:1 aspect ratio? Or is it like The Grand Budapest Hotel with multiple ARs?
95% is 1:1. I don't really want to say more than that, but at the same time it isn't a spoiler to say that other aspect ratios are used.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#14 Post by naersjoen » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:16 pm

criterionsnob wrote:I took a quick look and noticed that the subtitles were cut off at the bottom of the screen until I changed my TV setting to "Screen Fit", which is odd. Perhaps something to do with the unusual aspect ratio, or maybe just an authoring mistake.
Sounds like your TV's settings were such that it was cutting off part of the image before you changed the settings. The subtitles on the disc are positioned relatively low, but are well within the frame.

Image

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#15 Post by criterionsnob » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:49 pm

naersjoen wrote:Sounds like your TV's settings were such that it was cutting off part of the image before you changed the settings. The subtitles on the disc are positioned relatively low, but are well within the frame.
Yeah, that was my mistake. I thought 16:9 was the standard setting, but turns out Screen Fit is the right one. It must've been inadvertently switched on my TV when I first popped in the Mommy blu-ray. I watched the whole disc last night and the subs all fit.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#16 Post by thebosma » Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:55 pm

Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:For some reason, Amazon.ca can't ship it to USA addresses.
I just ordered it and it hasn't given me an update saying it can't ship to the US. In fact it says that it will ship internationally for me

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#17 Post by JabbaTheSlut » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:51 pm

a grotesquely overappreciated film. A naively, crudely written script, with one or two inspired directorial touches: the celine dion scene for example was very good. It's an ok melodrama with people yelling a lot in 1:1 aspect ratio.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#18 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:35 am

I've been really impressed by all of Dolan's previous work, so I was always likely to like this. And I do.

The tale of a single working class mum and her teenage son with ADHD sounds like something you'd expect from a British kitchen sink movie. But Dolan doesn't make kitchen sink movies. His films are uniquely his. The Die/Steve relationship is dysfunctional, but caring even when they both make bad decisions. There's no judgements, no black and white stereotyping. And there are some real "where did that come from" moments, and I'm not talking about karaoke renditions of Andrea Bocelli, more:
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the moment when the hitherto passive Kyla just explodes and leaps on Steve and tells him she's had enough of his shit, and the until now confident, brash Steve wets himself
The aspect ratio thing works really well as a means of expressing the psychology and fractured relationships of its characters.
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I really dug the almost break of the fourth wall as Steve expands the screen with his hands during the film's 'happiest' moments
And Dolan must have some celebrity fans because the music video to Rihanna's 'Four Five Seconds' looks EXACTLY like Dolan.

It's quite ridiculous in many ways, there's no opportunity to go "over the top" that Dolan will shirk. But it's not sensationalist or lurid.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#19 Post by JabbaTheSlut » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:09 pm

thirtyframesasecond wrote:And Dolan must have some celebrity fans because the music video to Rihanna's 'Four Five Seconds' looks EXACTLY like Dolan.
Looks EXACTLY like Richard Avedon.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#20 Post by Superswede11 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:23 pm

Okay, but Kendrick Lamar's "King Kunta" video (shot in 1.00:1) actually looks EXACTLY like Mommy

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#21 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:07 pm

There's something really refreshing about that aspect ratio and I can't put my finger on it. Great video by any stretch.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#22 Post by Zot! » Sat May 30, 2015 2:28 am

I thought it was ok actually. Aspect ratio is still corny. The weird soundtrack works. I have no idea why this had to have some kind of dystopian Thx1138 sci fi scenario thrown in, but it had pizazz.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#23 Post by knives » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:38 pm

This was a miserable case of miserablism. I get the sense Dolan was attempting to accomplish a Vittorio de Sica here by presenting absolutely loathsome lower class characters and showing despite the fact that are truly terrible people they should nonetheless be considered for basic dignities on account of being likable. Of course Umberto D never tried to kill his mother,but I guess that's just the cool thing now. Frankly the film provides nothing to lend towards its stated thesis, one that should be easily provable, that locking up kids without legal justification is bad. Steven clearly needs to go to a mental hospital or at least be provided a more structured home life. Though that still poses questions on legal justifications as the film itself in a catch-22 provides its own justification through shown actions making it impossible to take the stance of some supposed court. The best I can figure is a radically different film where we never see Steve like Suddenly, Last Summer. Though that's in the long term not a valid source of thinking since that's not the film Dolan delivered however much it would be a better fit for the themes. That said the film is gorgeous and the use of aspect ratio as has already been talked to death is genius if a little obvious
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(wide means freedom).

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#24 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:35 pm

Major spoilers:

Well, I'm in the middle on this but lean towards liking it much more than I expected to. I was kind of ready to absolutely hate this film, as I have a slight aversion to 'kitchen sink miserablism' even when it is done well. I also have general fatigue with the recent trend of 'which is the biggest monster? Mother or son? Shouldn't they just have sex/kill each other to figure it out rather than annoying everyone else?' genre that includes films like Savage Grace and We Need To Talk About Kevin (which I initially only remembered as Whatever Happened to Baby Kevin? I kind of have a notion to one day do a YouTube supercut of all these films (plus Psycho!) set to the painfully literal lyrics of Beauty Is Within Us!). Mommy doesn't really deviate from that trend but sort of dodges all of the potential pitfalls of the genre by doubling down on the problematic elements!

The main problem that usually occurs in a Ken Loach-type film is that the film tips into supporting wholeheartedly one side or other in the societal conflict, and the characters can sometimes end up feeling as if they only exist to illustrate a particular polemical point. That's fine when it is a side that I sympathise with to a large extent, but probably frustrating for anyone who does not entirely subscribe to the worldview! Mommy kind of gets around that by making everything and everyone unsympathetic and then trying to find moments of transcendence and compassion beyond all of that. From the very first title saying that the whole film takes place in a 'future Canada where laws have been passed allowing children to be put into care when parents are unable to cope', that immediately quite audaciously undercuts any claim to 'realism' or the film being about a 'real injustice' that is taking place out there in the 'real world', it sort of frames the narrative as being less primarily about the 'social realist message' aspect and more about finding the moving moments inside the particular threesome relationship that develops between the mother and son and their stuttering neighbour.

It is what I would call a 'Mona Lisa film', in the sense that it is opaque enough to allow different audience members to feel closer to one character or the other in the situation, but less because they all reveal hidden depths and more that they are all as bad as each other and mutually destructive! From the abrasive characters having screaming matches and betraying one another's attempts to make each other's lives better, I was left not being able to fully sympathise with the mother or the son (or the neighbour really, moving away from what is seemingly implied to be a restrictive, potentially abusive yet 'normal' family dynamic (where she almost literally has no voice due to her stuttering) and into a much more volatile situation with more obvious extremes of emotion that are all right there on the surface, but one where she can express herself more fully. At least until the final scenes of more veiled behaviours collapsing the fantasy family life). Yet from that 'scorched earth' baseline of people doing horrible things to each other, there are some really fantastic moments. I think the moment that I liked the most was when at their happiest Die gets served with the lawyer's demand for payment for the young man that Steve disfigured in an offscreen fight in the juvenile centre/mental hospital before the introduction of his character. Instead of immediately telling Steve and Kyla the bad news, Die just puts the letter away to continue to return to preparing the meal before dealing with the situation after a cut to the next day. That was a moment I found strangely powerful in that it shows someone not entirely ignoring the devastating, inescapable magnitude of the situation (which is something that strangely often occurs in Ken Loach films as people fully check out of any sense of reality, preferring the delusion, and the 'authorities' are usually forced to drag them back down to earth, as they wouldn't come back willingly otherwise) but instead putting it to one side for a brief time to enjoy the last moments of (perhaps delusional), ersatz family life. Something which gets even more powerful in comparison to when we get to the 'returning damaged goods' ending (or the way that the film kind of 'betrays' Die by forcing us to see her composure crumble after Kyla leaves. But is Kyla back trapped in her own repressive home life too?)

Mommy kind of puts characters into poses that they do not entirely deserve or feel like they have earned (that opening car crash kind of amused me as being a homage to the opening of Erin Brockovich!), and then plays on that poor sync-up between the character's ideas of who they are and their current circumstances for tragic effect. The aspect ratio shifts are probably the most obvious example of this, and like everything else in the film could come across as a great cinematic expression of the character's mental states, or gimmicky and superficial! (I kind of like how brief those aspect ratio shifts are - less for the obviousness of someone expanding their boundaries and feeling less impinged upon, but for how hard fought it is to actually get to that state of life feeling lighter and happier, and for just how quickly those moments of transcendence get boxed back in. In some ways it makes it even more painful to have had a moment of happiness only to get beaten down by life again than to ever have had it in the first place!) But that superficiality, usually tied in with the music cues, kind of shows how the characters have little control over the direction of their lives, with their only lighter moments coming from forgetting about their circumstances in big musical moments. For example I love Die's movingly rose tinted, arguably even hackneyed and clichéd reverie about Steve's future life, too in thrall to societal conceptions of the correct path through life that neither she or her son are going to have and notions about Steve's future life that is never going to happen, but no less moving for suggesting yearning hopes unfulfilled (and is it any different from Kyla, wanting Steve to study, indulging his dreams of eventually applying to Julliard?). She might be living vicariously through unrealistic expectations of the role she expects her son to fulfill (I think its not unintentional that Steve appears to be replaced by an older actor as an 'adult', almost as if he has become an entirely different person), which is bad imposition in itself, but it still felt very powerful and understandable dream, for all three of them to have the perfect lives. But it is just an illusion, especially as it is taking place on the trip to incarcerate him again, so she kind of already knows that this is a life that will never be. (Incidentally, that final car driving sequence kind of reminds me of the ending of Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl, maybe mixed with a bit of The Last Detail. With Steve in the passenger seat as the equivalent of the sacrificial daughter figure of that film, and the neighbour Kyla in the back like the passive witness to the horror).

But the song always has to come to an end, unless an ending is manufactured where we never see the inevitable resolution of the escape attempt (an escape? a beating? a suicidal leap from a window? or just hitting the wall at the end, unable to go any further?)
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:05 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

#25 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:00 pm

I get so excited when you see movies I love, Colin. Your post is terrific.

A quick note re: the ending:
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The song is Lana Del Rey's "Born to Die" - between the lyrics at the beginning of the song and the title, I cannot think of a better combination of a song and the context in which it appears to conclude a film. It's so perfect, in fact, that something tells me Dolan made some creative decisions (changing the mother's name, or the shot choices in the final scene, or both) so it would fit even better once he decided upon it.

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