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by Jen (subscribe)
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Published February 12th 2015
The 5th feature from 25 year old Quebec genius Xavier Dolan
mommy, film review, movie review, canadian, xavier dolan, anne dorval, suzanne clement, antoine-Oliver Pilon, Patrick Huard, cinema nova, carlton
All images © Metafilms, Société Développement des Entreprises Culturelles (SODEC), Sons of Manual, Super Écran, Téléfilm Canada

I felt this film was about 3 wounded souls limping through life, each deeply cut and carrying battle scars. Yet in adversity they ride out their difficulties and survive thanks to the lifeline they throw each other through their innate recognition of one another's situation. I thoroughly enjoyed the killer soundtrack that played some golden oldies as well as some current heavyweights and divas. It's inspired by the mixed tape the movie's fictional father made before he passed away.

I've included a list of the songs because I thoroughly enjoyed it. The official soundtrack for the film hasn't been released yet but if like me you enjoy the music, you can always come back here and check the list. They are:

Childhood — Craig Armstrong
Building a Mystery — Sarah McLachlan
White Flag — Dido
Colourblind — Counting Crows
On ne change pas — Celine Dion
Blue (Da Ba Dee) — Eiffel 65
Wonderwall — Oasis
Welcome to My Life — Simple Plan
Vivo per lei — Andrea Bocelli
Phase — Beck
Experience — Ludovico Einaudi
Born to Die — Lana Del Rey
Counting Stars — Sugarcult
Anything Could Happen — Ellie Goulding (this was not in the movie, just the trailer)

Diane Després (Die) is a widow who is faced with taking care of her 15-year-old son Steve with ADHD when he is kicked out of yet another institution for setting fire to the cafeteria, in turn injuring another boy. Steve's very happy to be going home with his feisty mum whom he loves to bits yet can't help himself when he has his outbursts and takes it out on her. There's also great love between them and there are some very straight forward no nonsense repartees that will make you cringe if you're sensitive or laugh out loud if you have a wicked sense of humour.

With Steve home full-time, Die's work options are a bit limited, try as she might to get employment, even offering a hint of her sexuality to go with the application at times. After waving at each other a few times, the opposite neighbour Kyla finally comes over and finds herself very at home and drawn to the dynamics of Die and Steve who do not judge her. She's a high school teacher on a sabbatical after suffering a breakdown that leaves her with a stammer. She has a husband and a daughter but like the fictional father that passed away, they're barely featured. Kyla gets involved in home schooling Steve, which allows Die to go out and work to get them ahead in life.

This is a strong cast, all of them giving stellar performances. Playing a stuttering support actress couldn't have been easy when you're pit against two actors with all the choice lines and scenes. Yet Suzanne Clément did just that as Kyla and triumphed. Young Steve played by Antoine-Olivier Pilon was mesmerising and his mother Die, played by Anne Dorval, is strong yet vulnerable in her role. I could totally relate to a scene where she's controlling her true feelings and emotions while appearing light and bubbly on the surface. We all wear different hats for different situations in our quest to survive emotionally and mentally. Like Die, I have no doubt behind closed doors it's a different story when in a safe place to let out our demons.

Most of the movie is filmed really close up like portraits or selfies and you can see every emotion, expression and flaw or perfection of the character. Loving portraits and close-ups, I thought wow, I've not seen this done before and it's brilliant. However, two thirds of the way I tired of it and was thirsty for some scenery. I was given a few drops to quench my thirst before the end of the film. I give this Canadian/French film with English subtitles an 8 out of 10. It's release date is the 7th of April 2015. Please check rating before booking as it's not been rated yet at time of writing.

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Why? A film about a widowed mother taking care of her ADHD son. A killer soundtrack and great performances. Please check rating at time of purchasing tickets.
When: Release date 7 April 2015
Where: In cinemas
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