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I Killed My Mother(J'ai tué ma mère)

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Canada · 2009
1h 36m
Director Xavier Dolan
Starring Xavier Dolan, Anne Dorval, François Arnaud, Suzanne Clément
Genre Drama

As Hubert navigates his teenage years and explore his identity, his relationship with his mother becomes increasingly antagonistic. Desperate to escape her, Hubert claims his mother is dead, but when finally sent to boarding school, he struggles to adapt in a world away from her.

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What are critics saying?


Slant Magazine by

I Killed My Mother is a film best heard than seen, as the earnest, nimble scrubbiness of Dolan's screenplay is ill-served by his conceited visuals, an aesthetic mode that feels insecurely borrowed from perfume commercials and the work of Jean-Luc Godard and Wong Kar-Wai.


San Francisco Chronicle by David Wiegand

The director is barely a kid, yet this is such a ferociously accomplished, beautifully nuanced and endlessly surprising film, you'd think the guy had been directing for decades. [13 June 2010, p.Q25]


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Xavier Dolan's I Killed My Mother marks the emergence of an exciting new filmmaking talent. The Montreal actor, a mere 20 years old, displays a startlingly mature perspective on human behavior in his triple threat position as writer-director-star.


Chicago Reader by J.R. Jones

Anne Dorval gives an extraordinary performance as the mother, who lashes out at the boy but can't disguise her own suffering when he lands an emotional punch; their scenes together reminded me of Paul Schrader's Affliction for their sense of familial love gone hopelessly sour.


Variety by Jay Weissberg

There’s much to praise, especially the oh-so-real dialogue, but true psychological penetration is lacking and Dolan’s hunger to prove his talent results in a superfluity of styles. Still, multigenerational auds worldwide will likely find kinship with the many funny/painful situations, and pic is a genuine crowdpleaser.


The New York Times by Rachel Saltz

As a director, Mr. Dolan has a freewheeling style, and he’s self-dramatizing enough to want to call attention to it without being too much of a visual show-off.


Miami Herald by Rene Rodriguez

I Killed My Mother fares less well when Dolan gives in to some ill-conceived stylistic flourishes (understandable for a young, first-time filmmaker) or when his reach as a dramatist exceeds his grasp (an incident involving thugs who gay-bash Hubert, for example, feels superfluous). But the crux of the film is the furious, tempestuous bond between Hubert and Chantale, and through their volcanic fights, you can see Dolan's considerable talent at its least adorned. [23 Apr 2010, p.G7]


The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Rick Groen

Love sometimes hurts, but love/hate is always pure anguish. That's the two-stroke engine powering I Killed My Mother ( J'ai tué ma mère), a coming-of-age tale as ferociously raw as its teller - the very young Xavier Dolan.

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