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I Killed My Mother

I Killed My Mother is my first foray to Xavier Dolan’s filmography – and I think this movie only gets good at the last five minutes, but those five minutes are enough to change my mind about it. This might be a case of over thinking things, but the beauty of the film only makes sense once all the pieces are together, and that does happen towards the end of this film.

Hubert has an irrational love/hate relationship with his mother. He voices out his own reasons for disliking her – she’s lenient, inattentive, all things that teenagers usually rant about their parents. He behaves like a self-centered teenager would: the world revolves around him; anything that would jeopardize his life would ruin him. His interactions with his mother usually have both parties in an erratic behavior; it seemed that they never got along. His mother (Anne Dorval) would match his ‘passionate’ outbursts with her own – they rarely share peaceful moments with each other. 

The color scheme of the film is telling about the moods of Hubert. He and his mother are always clouded in darkness, while doing anything that makes him happen or occasionally fine is shot in a brighter environment. It also uses the kind of shots that are in place with dramatic pieces, and holds the camera close to its characters. Xavier Dolan carries most of this film, and his brash attitude makes his character stand out. Anne Dorval also holds her end as Hubert’s mom, and ends up gaining sympathy. 

The film isn’t really about anything; its center lies more on finding out why this film was entitled as such. As we watch these two unlikable characters hack it out, the entire piece turns out to be more of a ode for parents from their children. We see Hubert do his own thing, be his own person, but as the film progressed, he doesn’t share his real sentiments with his mother, choosing only what to show her. Because Chantale doesn’t understand him, he ends up acting out. Then again, the film is in the eyes of Hubert – and I think he is an unreliable narrator. He does need to be, because his actions are the only thing he understands. 

So how did he 'kill' his mother? Through his behavior, his self-centeredness, their inability to connect with each other. This stands as a metaphor for teenagers who act out during those years of puberty – when they think everything revolves around them and doing anything else on the contrary is seen as a movement against them. Parents are not allowed to make mistakes, that everything they do should please their children. If they do, they are at the receiving end of what rebellion the teenager chooses to play out. However, that’s not really the case when one grows up – and as the final scene plays out, the whole narrative of the film strengthens this scene. 

I may be over thinking or pointing out the obvious. I may also be mistaken for what I’ve written about the film. This might simply just be Dolan's story, as it is semi-autobiographical. This is a kind of film that requires patience, as the entire piece needs to be finished in order to put it together. For the first film of Xavier Dolan, this was a good piece. It’s not perfect, but he knows how to direct.


  1. I've always been curious about his movies but I haven't seen any of them. And now this whole drama around him surfaces last year and I'm not not sure how to feel about him as a person. I bet he's a great director though.. I will definitely see his films at some point.

    1. I don't remember his drama from last year, would have to look it up. I've been amazed at what he has accomplished at a young age and thought it was time to start looking into his filmography.

  2. I don't know anything about this guy, good or bad, but he seems to have some serious clout around the few blogs I visit. Your review has me intrigued, certainly, but I strongly doubt I'll ever actually sit down and watch this one. Seems like it could be a bit of a grind, yes?

    Great post.

    1. I would watch his films in stride as I'm not sure if I'm totally loving his approach, but I've only heard good things about his next ones.

  3. I liked this one, and it floors me he directed this when he was 19. That's pretty amazing.

    1. I'm realy amazed at his accomplishments at a young age!


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