GFF 2010: I Killed My Mother

Film Review by James Campbell | 23 Feb 2010
Film title: I Killed My Mother
Director: Xavier Dolan
Starring: Anne Dorval, Xavier Dolan, Suzanne Clement
Release date: TBC
Certificate: TBC

As writer, director, producer and star of I Killed My Mother, 20-year-old Xavier Dolan has taken most of the inspiration for his first feature from his own life. This perhaps justifies (at least in part) the film's occasional stray into pretentiousness (a term Dolan allegedly fears the most). Hubert, played by Dolan, is Dolan, aged sixteen. And what man of that age has much to say about anything other than himself? Yet he does have rather a lot of genuine insight into the relationship with his on-screen mother/sparring partner. Their theatrical arguments alternate between comedy and startling authenticity. By extension, Dolan also realises how insufferable he must have been, and his camera consistently voices this suspicion. Some sequences are extraordinary, like the tripartite montage of painting, love-making and frenzy. More are contrived, lifted straight from Wong Kar Wai or an emo Myspace video. Excellent acting is undermined by stagey direction and the inevitable self-obsession of the exercise, but under the circumstances, the film still remains a tour de force from a precocious young mind.


Showing at Glasgow Film Festival 2010.