Wednesday, March 23, 2016

100 reasons why Mommy is my favorite film of all time: Part III

Picking up from reasons 1-10 and 11-20, here we go:

Reason #21

Again with the subliminal hyperbole, but there is something about this moment, when Die leaves the confines of the closet to see the memories of her more perfect life scattered all over the floor, that squeezes my heart.  The first thing that Steve asks her for is his old pictures and then we see them here, a pile on the floor, fallen from the shelf that she flung at her son in self defense.  In a way, she hurt her son with his own past.

Reason #22

I find it so telling that the first time Kyla actually interacts with Steve and Die, it is to mend his wounds.  Take of that connection what you will, but I love how this is the time she chooses to introduce herself.  Why she was there, we don't know.  Did she happen to be on her way to introduce herself when she noticed the injured Steve?  Was she just passing by?  Was she spying from her window?  

All the while knowing that she's already watched one of these two narrowly escape death.

I also find this so fitting because, as we see later, wounds bookend her relationship with Steve and Die, or at least with Steve.  The physicality of wounds.  Her separation from Die may contain more emotional wounds than anything else, but they are still wounds.  Here, she enters in as a beacon of light to swiftly help mend to Steve's wound, and she sets off a chain reaction of interaction that slowly starts to help mend the emotional wounds that plague these two.  Unfortunately, as time tells, these are wounds she cannot heal.

Reason #23

I love this shot so much.  It's the first shot we get of the three of them in the same frame, full bodied, and the uncomfortable unknowingness that permeates Kyla's body language coupled with the tense defensiveness that comes over Die is so beautifully composed.  And then we have Steve smack dab in the center, as calm, cool and collected as ever.  He's relaxed within their dis-harmony and it's so telling to the calm within the storm that is constantly swirling in Steve's mind.  Much like the scene with Steve on his skateboard, this moment shows where Steve sits in the world.  It's such a perfectly composed shot.

It's even more perfect when you juxtaposition it alongside this one:

This is next shot we get of the three of them, full bodied, in the same frame.  It comes not much later (a mere scene or two) but already we see the change in body language.  The looseness and almost abandon of this moment (which we'll talk about later) is such a perfect foil to the frame mentioned above.

Reason #24

Die, trying so desperately to appear one way to hide everything she's feeling inside.

Reason #25

I love a good awkward dinner scene.  Dinner is a time for talking, for communicating on such an intimate level.  Sharing a meal; it's one of the most endearing signs of friendship.  Even the Bible highlights the intimacy levels of breaking bread together.  This dinner scene is such a sharply constructed moment, because it feels like a genuine snapshot of real life.  There is nothing rehearsed about this moment.  It feels almost ad-libbed, and Kyla's expression right here is so genuinely IN the moment that it bleeds an honest response, as does this:

Reason #26

I love how Dolan just throws out all of these hints to Kyla's story without ever tackling it head on.  This is such a smart decision.  This is not Kyla's story.  This is Die's story.  She is the one we should focus on, and so we are never given more information than Die can attain herself.  Kyla has a whole story surrounding her character, and the luminous Suzanne Clement knows that and develops it behind the scenes, but Dolan was genius to keep her character's backstory in the dark for us because it made the whole thing feel so much more honest and genuine.  This is a real friendship and not some Hollywood development where everyone automatically feels comfortable enough to tell you everything about them.  It also is a brilliant way to develop a character, showing how Die and Kyla differ in the way they deal with what life throws their way.

Reason #27

Reason #28

This moment's progression for Kyla is such a magical thing to witness, and Clement's tremendous performance only exemplifies just how deeply she understood this woman.  Watching her go from coy, nervous and almost embarrassed to be there to completely letting go; that abandon that only comes from shedding the baggage that holds you so tightly, if only for a mere moment.  As much as Kyla is here to help 'heal', it is clear in this moment that she herself is in need of healing, and that these two unlikely sources are going to provide what she needs in this moment in time.

Reason #29

Talk about abandon, this moment is a complete turning point for the film because it takes the aggression that Steve is prone to exhibiting and thrusts it into his face, basically turning the tables and establishing a balance here that wasn't there.  But the scene is far more important than just to show an adult finally standing up to an unruly child... further explains the child.  This is the moment when things start to make sense for the audience and the character that is Steve, a young man suffering; truly suffering.  I have a very close friend whose son suffers from a severe case of ADHD and the preconceived notion that children with ADHD are just hyper kids in need of a firm hand is troubling, and possibly a direct result of the fact that everyone wants to label every child hopped up on sugar as ADHD.  ADHD isn't some 'minor' illness but is a major problem and is not as easy to manage as those unfamiliar try and claim it is.  This moment breaks my heart.

Reason #30

As does this moment.  UGH...YES, Steve, you are!  F*ck me...the tears...I just want to hug him so tight...

...and considering that Kyla's dead son (because, we are all drawing this same conclusion) looks just like Steve, it may explain why she wants to hug him too.


  1. Another lovely post. And yes, ADHD is ridiculously misunderstood. When it comes to raising children, even kids with complicated needs, everybody thinks they're an expert.

  2. #29 and #30 ruined me. This movie is SO great!

  3. I understood this kid because I am with someone who has classic severe ADHD. He is loveable, intelligent, sensitive, sweet, caring, funny but he has that impulsiveness that can scare people and put them off. He doesn't even realize that this happens and one needs huge patience. When he was a teen he had so much anger and this, at a time, when no one talked or knew about this disease. He was labelled slow and difficult and called horrible. These scenes show this so well and how a mom who loves her son, ...just loves him. The scenes with Kyla makes you want to know more about her.

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