If Mommy counts as a slight creative step back, and I would argue that it is, it's at least an elegant and purposeful one.
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With Dolan, you feel you're in the company of a truly original voice and one unafraid to make his mistakes right up there on the screen.
As a director, he finally shows a willingness to work on the same wavelength of the material instead of adding distracting bells and whistles that overstate his characters' grievances.
There are ups and downs and soapish highs and lows, but what stops this from ever becoming a telenovela is the riveting wonder of the performances and the sheer brio of the filmmaking.
Dolan is a director who thinks hard about the possibilities of cinema and explores them with verve and ingenuity, but it is in his latest film that everything has come together.
If it merits no other superlative, Mommy is unquestionably the most hyperactive movie of the year. It begins at a fever pitch and maintains that degree of in-your-face intensity for well over two hours, to either exhilarating or exhausting effect, depending on one’s tolerance level.
Dolan's energy and attack is thrilling; his movie is often brilliant and very funny in ways which smash through the barriers marked Incorrect and Inappropriate.
It’s uncanny how much Dolan’s style and overall solipsism have evolved in five years’ time, resulting in a funny, heartbreaking and, above all, original work — right down to its unusual 1:1 aspect ratio — that feels derivative of no one, not even himself.
Dolan's fifth feature feels like a strong step forward, striking his most considered balance yet between style and substance, drama-queen posturing and real heartfelt depth.
It comes at you baying and rattling like an early Pedro Almodóvar comedy, threaded through with an infectious love of full-throttle melodrama, and flinging its energy right back to the cheap seats, thanks to Dolan's customarily zippy design choices.