1 January 2008 | cmmescalona
Diabolique, vraiment diabolique!
Turning the page from childhood into adolescence, Julien seems to be a very happy child with lots of things to do. A straight 20 (that's A) student, a football player in the team that is preparing its next championship, a dedicated pupil of his own granny who teaches him piano and loves him dearly; a happy child starting a relationship with a girl at school.
With passionate and memorable performances of all the cast, definitely Nathalie Baye leads the pack with a terrific impersonation of Julien's mother. A pity this time Olivier Gourmet had a small but very effective role as the father. Marie Kremer as Julien's sister is fantastic, but Victor Sévaux as Julien is one of the best roles played by a child I've ever seen. He reminded me the amazing character of Ken Loach's "Kes" or the powerful performance of Christian Bale in "The Empire of the Sun", or, maybe closer in time, Juanjo Ballesta in "El Bola", a film that deals with the subject matter of Mon Fils à Moi.
The script is written in the same vein as some of the Dardenne's brothers films: fast cuts into expressions that tell even the text in the mind of the characters. Mme. Baye's character is mesmerising, to say the least. One difficult role to play as a deranged over-protecting mother that relies in her power to determine her son's fate. Absolutely diabolical and very disturbing.
This is a film that has the power of moving every fibre in your mind and heart, even physically. There is one scene of incredible tension that leads to the not so expected end where you will feel how your heart-rate increases dramatically.
Shot with lots of natural light and intelligent camera angles and movements, it never lets you go. A beautiful, difficult to watch film that will stay with you for a long time... and I mean it, it's just too hard to see when love is turned into slavery and that slavery is justified as love.
These are the kind of films that have a brave approach to difficult subjects and give you the opportunity to discuss it many times.