Ma Mere Reviews
The ending is terrific and the perfect conclusion to the story. Absolutely superb, a film I think only French could have the audacity to do... I hope European Cinema gets more protection so that we can keep watching these master pieces, otherwise we'll just have to stay dumb watching the main pop corn stream...
I'm not sure I'm open-minded enough to fully appreciate Ma Mere. It attempts to titillate by venturing into those dark places where most people feel VERY uncomfortable. If there is a moral to this story it's simply this: "Don't hump your mother". (Frankly, I didn't need an artsy French film to figure that out.)
"Ma Mere" is a sexually explicit and provocative movie about intimacy and sex, and how dissimilar they really are. Helene has sex in copious amounts, but it is intimacy and love that Pierre desperately needs.(Pierre was raised by his grandparents since apparently Helene is so carefree as to be incapable of raising a child.)
And the scenic locations are very well photographed.
What follows is something of a numbing experience: full frontal nudity, strong sex scenes and incest are all thrown up on screen. Had it not been for the powerful performances from Louis Garrel and Isabelle Huppert and some interesting camerawork, I may have lost interest in the whole thing (despite the subject matter), especially considering its inordinate running time.
Huppert gives another fine performance but Louis Garrel (as her son) annoyed me greatly and made me dislike the film. A near-miss.
Huppert can do no wrong in my mind, but even here she proves once again that she is a fearless actress, and also the best french actress working today. Louis Garrel also delivers a raw and naked performance (sometimes literally.) Another fearless actor, who is as sexy as he is talented.
Other than the great performances, the film is also incredibly filmed and edited. The opening credits are stark and silent and brilliant. And I've never heard the Beach Boys song so happy together put to better use.
Companion piece: Ken Park