It's almost like Steve is talking to the audience.
Catch the choke. UGH...the way she reacts to his words, "Am I a piece of shit?"...it just breaks my heart. All the love she feels and the pride she's been wanting to feel...you can see it seeping out of her pours in this moment. The look she gives when she sees that her son is feeling unappreciated, that look of "of course I love you" and then it quickly becomes a near overwhelming experience for her. I'm in tears just thinking about it.
The simple joy of new beginnings. Steve's utter excitement at the picture...the love he feels for it...what it means for him, but mostly just the way Dolan utilizes such a mundane activity (taking a selfie) and gives it this depth that is never associated with it. This is the only selfie that has ever truly mattered.
Dolan's film is filled with such natural conversation, which is something that is not to be taken for granted. A film of this nature, with such heavy themes and situations, is not often approached with room for 'small talk', but Dolan beautifully colors in these characters by given them moments where they can just be normal people. This conversation between Die and Kyla is filled with such natural touches and 'cutting up' ("I'm a jingle lady") that makes the heaviness of the backstory told here feel more human. It isn't just heavy on heavy on heavy...it's real life portrayed by real people.
Such a simple and almost cliche gesture and yet, it's such a powerful statement to who Steve is and how thoughtful he can be. A macaroni bracelet made for a neighbor by a fifteen year old may seem silly, and yet this is one of the most heartwarming and tender moments in the whole film.
Kyla's daughter, a blur in the background...a responsibility she just can't handle right now, but always there as a reminder she's not doing something she's supposed to be doing.
Again, it's like Kyla is winking right at us.
While my initial love of this moment is all about the way that Dolan sets it up, frames it, such a marvelously designed 'snapshot', the more I rest on this moment the more I applaud it's subtle premonition. It may be a touch on the nose when it's pointed out, and maybe I'm reading into it (but who cares?), but the bubble being popped truly feels like a hint towards the inevitable end to their moments of unified happiness.
I know that not everyone agrees with this aspect of the film, but this is one of those moments where beating the audience over the head with the 'profound meaning' of your gimmick truly works. Having Die's world literally be boxed in by her internal and external struggling reaps it's rich reward when the aspect ratio is expanded (by Steve's hand's nonetheless) in this glorious moment. Her world finally easing up, her lungs finally filling with air as she can BREATHE for the first time in who knows how long, this particular scene literally gave me chills in the theater and still wrecks me every time. Perfectly played, Mr. Dolan...perfectly played!