Film #148: I Killed My Mother (2009)

jai_tue_ma_mereaka: J’ai tué ma mère
Director: Xavier Dolan
Language: French
Length: 96 minutes
Watched on: 22 May 2015

This film is rather famous now among gay films – indeed, it’s got a sex scene in the middle that, while tame, involves a lot of paint and is pretty much iconic by now. Naturally this piqued my curiosity enough to pick it up when I was rifling through some DVDs back in the UK (on which note – it was nice that most bookshops and DVD stores there now seem to have an LGBT section, something I’ve discovered a grand total of once in Japan).

Not knowing that much about Xavier Dolan before watching this, I was a little surprised to discover that he was the first-time director and twinkish lead of the movie. And if this movie is any reflection on Dolan himself, he’s got serious mommy issues, as if the title of the movie didn’t clue you in on that already. As a side note, I’ve noticed that his latest movie, straightforwardly named Mommy, still seems to be dealing with similar themes.

Dolan’s character’s sexuality is also very incidental to the story – a fact that I’d find ground-breaking had it not made the film forever pigeonholed as a “gay movie”. It’s a shame really, although taking into account that it’s French-Canadian, it probably wouldn’t have much widespread appeal anyway.

Basically, then, the whole movie is the teenage main character throwing shade and having explosive arguments with his controlling mother, and ranting in his diary about how much he hates her. I got bored of his character quite quickly, if I’m honest – he came across as whiny and self-centred. She doesn’t come off any better, though. As a portrayal of teenage life, I guess it has a grain of truth, but can’t be something to aspire to.

So, realistic enough but with annoying characters, but still I think what will and perhaps should bring anyone to the movie is the gay stuff, which is a side plot – at the same time, I think it’s a strong first feature, especially from someone the same age as me, and I think it can and should have wider appeal than the gay stuff. On balance I’d recommend it.

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