This outburst is so well played. It could have veered in so many directions, and it could have rested on anger and 'shock' value, but there is so much weight given to the way Pilon's voice carries here, the way he layers this solitary moment with so many emotions. Frustration is really the key emotion that comes through, shown in the way his voice almost quivers in delivery, but it's a textured frustration because it's pointed at so many things. This idiot got what was coming to him, but Steve isn't really concerned with him at all. His frustrations were highlighted before this guy even started taunting him...
...anger, fear, panic, desperation...frustration with so many things all culminating together in this one moment.
Yes! So much yes! Die's reaction is such a pitch perfect 'parent' moment, and Paul's utter shock at her reaction clearly outlines how he just doesn't get it. The slap, her vulgarity, his eyes, the fact that the aspect ratio clearly denies him entry into their frame. He's outside of this circle. He's not allowed to share their frame. It's him vs. them, and his decision to walk away betrays his real intentions quite clearly.
We know that Dolan loves to deliver a back-shot. They pop up quite frequently in his films. There is something about this moment though, the way you can feel every conflicting emotion spreading through Die's body, that feels almost the most impactful of all the shots he's delivered of this breed. Her harsh words, her instant regret, her internal debate as to how to proceed, what to say, how to word it, to give up, to stay the fight, to apologize, does he deserve it, does she deserve this...everything crushing her, the weight physically bringing her down...it's a brilliantly composed shot.
This moment is such a pivotal one, one that is brilliantly cascaded in darkness. I say this because this is the moment when Steve gets something aching off his chest, a belief that there will come a moment when his mother will stop loving him. It's shrouded in the darkness of this thought, and the darkness of his mind, a thought that is almost as murky as it is untrue and yet it plagues him. He knows that he's a mess. He knows that he ruined everything. He just needed her to tell him for him to actually feel bad about it.
And then there is the kiss. While one could try and read into this in a way that it is not, the mere fact is that Die is everything that Steve has in the world. In a completely asexual way, he leans in as if to relay that she is his world entirely...
...and when she leaves him standing there he feels utterly alone.
Possibly the most perfect visual/aural combination in the film. My stomach hurts just looking at it.
He's laughing. There is something so guttural and natural about this moment. He's lying there, bleeding out and yet he still finds a moment to find humor in the situation, in Kyla's inability to speak, her stutter, her panic, as if he's enjoying this somehow. He's, once again, thriving within the awkward atmosphere. He can't find comfort in the normal anymore. He needed this. And that isn't to say that he finds this funny, but that this disorder is the only way the world can catch up to the chaos in his mind, and in that regard he finds an odd sense of peace.
The fact that the only word Kyla can say is, "Die!"
F*ck my bleeding heart. This interchange is possibly my favorite in the whole film. With just a few choice words, Dolan blows those over-bloated Hollywood 'monologues' out of the water by saying SO MUCH about what this film is truly about. This is all that matters. Nothing, nothing, nothing else matters. For a parent, love is the only thing that comes naturally. Everything else is a jumbled mess of trying, failing, trying, succeeding, trying failing and everything in between, but love, that is what a parent is best at because they don't even have to try, and nothing changes that.