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Review: I Killed My Mother

Ken Korman on an award-winning French Canadian film by a 19-year-old auteur



The alienated teenage protagonist of the 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 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 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 dramas. — KEN KORMAN

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