Xavier Dolan’s French-language Mommy (2014) is a movie of small moments and big feelings, depicting the constant struggle to snuff out pain and
strive for love. Ann Dorval stars as the title mommy, presenting herself as a fortysomething sexual creature, wearing long, tangled hair, tight clothes,
and sexy shoes. She does whatever she likes, smoking, drinking, flirting with men, but the center of her world is her son Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon). He
is also a very physical being, moving like an animal, or a dancer, and commanding all the attention in the room. He’s very charming, but also explosive,
and capable of sudden violence.
These two move to a new neighborhood, and meet a new neighbor, a mousy teacher Kyla (Suzanne Clément), who has a speech impediment. After experiencing
their brand of hospitality, Kyla becomes a frequent visitor, hooked on the high emotions of this household, and she accepts a job home-schooling Steve.
Dolan films all this mainly in a tight, constricting frame, except for one euphoric scene wherein, the trio feeling truly happy for a moment, Steve spreads
his arms and pushes the edges of the frame outward. Dolan also employs a strange dream sequence that also fits into his very simple, universal struggle.