This movie is gaining a new lease on life due to the Youtube popularity of Élie Dupuis, a boy prodigy who starred in it as Conrad (Coco) Gauvin. Élie, now 14, is a magnificent pianist and singer who also puts in a good acting turn here as the boy who escapes family conflict by retreating to the garage and turning a dead lawn mower into a fabulous go-kart. His two musical contributions to the soundtrack are truncated but appear in full in his youtubes: surprisingly, he turns Sunny Bono's "Bang Bang" into a stunning same-sex torch song -- the first time I know of that any 13 year old has ever given voice to those feelings.
The movie is one of two recent Québec films that deal with families splitting up because a loutish, over-busy professional husband has finally driven his trapped wife to fulfilling her career ambitions elsewhere. In C'est Pas Moi, Je le Jure, little Léon, the most affected son, turns to vandalism and romance. Here in Maman est Chez le Coiffeur, in its deliberately gorgeous setting of rural Québec, only the youngest son Benoit becomes distraught and destructive. The middle child Coco gets creative, and big sister Élise befriends an isolated, scary looking deaf man, M. Mouche (Mr. Fly), who turns out to have a heart of gold, as well as a spectacular talent for tying fly-fishing flies. The dramatic threads at the end of the movie remain unresolved -- the cinema-verité quality of the film is as persistent as a meditator's mantra -- but you may find you've developed an urge to go to back-country Québec and do some fly fishing, or hang out by a river enjoying the miraculous scenery.