Mommy

LetterboxD review link

Mommy shows up in some of my favorite critics’ favorite film lists. I didn’t catch up with it in theaters a couple of years ago and ran into it streaming on Hulu, serendipitously.

The 1:1 aspect ratio, throughout most of the film, was fantastic. The frames it created, combined with the coloring and editing choices, gave the film a feeling of watching portraiture in motion. Although the “opening up” of the frame, which happens only twice throughout the film could be seen as a naive or obvious artistic trick, it totally worked for me. I went from feeling constrained and locked into the lives of these characters, to feeling the freedom they felt as their anxieties abated. In a similar way, using pop music like “Wonderwall” or the Counting Crows could otherwise feel immature or lacking style but here it felt earnest and well executed. The entire film is well managed, tonally, and although the acting isn’t world-class, it is buoyed by the quality of the characters and the story.

Young men, like in La Haine or Pankaj Mishra’s “Age of Anger”, suck up a lot of society’s and families’ resources. They are difficult. They act out. They’re capable of violence and unmitigated angst. But they’re worth investing in. No one knows how long life’s phases are but we know a new phase will come.