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Written, directed and starred by Xavier Dolan, I Killed My Mother (J’ai Tué Ma Mère, 2009), is the story of 16 year-old Hubert’s delicate relationship with his mother, that has nothing to do with the usual teenager-parent issues. As the child of a divorced couple, Hubert lives with his mother, and barely sees his father. He is a sophisticated, intelligent homosexual guy, contrary to his mother, portrayed as a tasteless, shallow, semi-neurotic, unstabled woman dwelling far from her son’s world.
Hubert does not accept or relate to anything about his mother, but the story has nothing to do with ordinary, usual problems of a teenager. The audience gets the story from Hubert’s point of view, since the film is partially based on Xavier Dolan’s autobiography.
“I wasn’t made to have a mother”, says Hubert, but on the other hand, you sense a subtle emotion of envy towards his boyfriend’s relationship with his mother, and also how he somehow substitute his teacher for his mother. The movie tells about more than a troubled relationship — it also questions the essential bond between a mother and son. Hubert has nothing in common with his mother, he despises his mother’s taste, her daily life habits and even the sounds she makes when she’s eating.
But more importantly, he feels that the gap between them is impassable, even during the times when he really wants to communicate with her. We sense a deep seperation, and Hubert confirms this by saying that he loves hundred people more than he loves his mother.
After being sent to a Catholic boarding school, Hubert is dragged into a more isolated realm away from his mother, as well as faced with other troubles.
Dolan rather focuses on the issues between the mother and the son that go beyond the issue of Huberts sexuality. The problem is rather the impossiblity of the communication between two completely different existences, as if they live in totally opposite worlds where their differences can not be overcomed. This movie shows how the closest can actually be the farthest.
Being the son of the ‘wrong’ mother, Hubert falls into a deep paradox which he needs desperately to confront. I Killed My Mother drags the audience into the very core of this paradox: the love and hate Hubert has for his mother.
I Killed My Mother is a sensitive and brilliant movie that has won several awards including three at the Cannes Film Festival, 2009. This delicate story told by young, talented Xavier Dolan is definitely a must-see film.