Desperate to form a semblance of normality once again, the pair set about re-establishing their personal, professional and academic lives, which are given a new sense of hope when furtive neighbour Kyla (Suzanne Clément in a direct inversion of her fiery character in Lawrence Anyways (2012)) inserts herself into their household, establishing a makeshift and unsteady family unit. The question remains how long it will be before the carefully assembled equilibrium comes crashing down. As with any feature from the precocious, multitalented filmmaker, Mommy is ablaze with studied but impressive filmic aestheticism, from the considered mise en scène to his firm grasp on editing and the language of cinema, not to mention a typically refined pop soundtrack. Where this clear infatuation for splurging his prowess on the screen has in the past seen numerous detractors claiming style over substance - largely lobbied against his transsexual epic Lawrence Anyways - here Dolan consciously cuts back on the verbosity in order to hone in on the raw emotions that lie within such an intense domestic enclave.
This is best seen in his ability to outweigh the inherent melodrama of his story with moments of pure, unadulterated release; a group sing-a-long to a Celine Dion track shouldn't normally be charged with such tear-inducing honesty, yet in Dolan crafts it to be as cathartic as it is wholly necessary to the moment. The same too can be said for an unusual scene where Steve literally pushes the film's square 1:1 aspect ratio outwards to reveal a glorious widescreen reflection of his feeling of release, a continuation of the director's curiosity with visual convention that is, of course, shot in slow motion. With two further projects in various stages of production, Dolan makes no bones about his intent to push his cinema in still unchartered territory, honing his voice whilst remaining as formally vibrant as he so pleased. If the results are as powerful and moving as Mommy, then more power to him.
Ed Frost | @Frost_Ed