|J'ai Tué Ma Mère (Canada; 85
directed by: Xavier Dolan
starring: Xavier Dolan; Anne Dorval; François Arnaud; Patricia Tulasne; Pierre Chagnon
Bruce says: "Xavier Dolan began writing his script for J’AI TUÉ MA MÈRE when he was sixteen with the goal in mind of getting his film into the Cannes Film Festival. Not only did he achieve that goal but he won three awards at Cannes in 2009 at the age of 20.
"J’AI TUÉ MA MÈRE is a comedy loosely based on personal experience and an abundance of marvelous fantasy. In the film Hubert Minel (Xavier Dolan) and his mother Chantale (Anne Dorval) live alone together. Hubert’s father (Pierre Chagnon), whom Hubert rarely visits, is history. Chantale is the type of adult who should never have become a parent. Her child rearing instincts, when they rarely surface, are all wrong. Although she loves her son she often treats him as an inconvenience. These moments fuel Hubert’s irrational side. 'I could be anyone’s son, but not hers,' he thinks. Both mother and son are subject to outbursts which always end in a stalemate with neither benefitting. For example, they are in the car and Chantale is putting on her make-up while driving and Hubert has the radio blasting away. Both are annoyed and start screaming at each other. 'Take the bus,' Chantale yells as Hubert jumps out of the car.
"Hubert is gay but he has not told his parents. For several months he has been having a hot romance with Antonin (François Arnaud) whose mother is wildly supportive of their relationship futher underlining the divide between Hubert and his mother. Hiding his sexuality is not helping to foster the closeness Hubert craves yet his mother sends no signals that she might be supportive were Hubert to confess. Luckily, a teacher at school takes Hubert under her wing, providing him with a non-threatening surrogate mother.
"After one too many outbursts, Chantale decides Hubert must be sent away to boarding school. The results are disastrous. As heavy handed as the story may sound it is told with lightness and generosity that extend beyond the expected range of director’s age group. The most emotionally painful moments are carefully balanced with a delicious sense of humour. Both Dolan and Dorval are magnificent in their roles. The director strikes only one slightly false note with a fantasy scene involving his teacher running through the woods in a wedding dress. 4 1/2 cats
"(J’AI TUÉ MA MÈRE screened at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.)"