The alienated teenage protagonist of award-winning French Canadian film I Killed My Mother doesn’t actually do the evil deed of the title — it’s not that kind of movie — but you might not entirely blame him if he did. Hubert (Xavier Dolan) and his annoying mom Chantale (Anne Dorval) fight like star-crossed lovers, but their vivid love-hate relationship feels all too familiar to the many of us who barely survived adolescence. Complicating matters is Hubert’s status as a gay teen, which is only an issue because he hasn’t managed to communicate this simple fact to his mother despite all their endless chatter. Both writer-director and star of his own debut as a filmmaker, then-19-year-old Dolan (the film was made in 2009 but held from widespread distribution by a protracted legal battle) has called the film autobiographical, and it has the low budget, handmade feel to match that pedigree. The pace is little slower than it should be, but Dolan’s movie manages to walk a fine line between Woody Allen-style black comedy and more conventional coming-of-age domestic drama.
I Killed My Mother starts Tuesday, May 21, exclusively at Zeitgeist Movies.