The 25-year-old French-Canadian writer-director Xavier Dolan has a heady flamboyance that is sometimes mistaken by cineastes for high artistry. “Mommy,” his latest, has its powerful moments, but too much of it is show-offy in ways that have more to do with camera moves than dramatic truth.It’s about the relationship between a highly troubled youth, Steve (Antoine Olivier Pilon), and his single mother Diane (Anne Dorval). Steve is full of rages and recriminations – a real handful. Diane does what she can to control him and calm him.
I suppose the relationship is Oedipal or primal or something or other, but mostly it’s just an excuse for Dolan to stage a series of gaudy shout-fests. Much of the film, however, is redeemed by Dorval’s performance, which somehow makes emotional sense out of Diane’s many exhilarations and exasperations. Grade: C+ (Rated R for language throughout, sexual references and some violence.)