That term aside, this is a very good film. A portrait of a mother who is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that her wastrel son will not have to get a job to provide for his family. That's the upshot here: the son is not willing to lift a finger to support his family. So Elena does it for him.
The son is the way he is because that is how Elena wants him: dependent on her. And her husband has to provide the means, whether he wants to or not. Her son will not be denied.
A monstrous woman.
The most beguiling aspect of Andrey Zvyagintsev's drama, what gives it its intriguing edge, is that there's a sense of something trapped, secret, hidden -- the same way Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu's two phenomenal features "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" and "Beyond the Hills" do. The fatal decision "Elena's" titular character makes midway through is fittingly only half-justified but no less despicable; there's just something in the icy air. "Elena" does occasionally stagnate in terms of plot momentum and depth but it's the mystical, "Vera Drake"-esque attitude of the thing that allows you to open up to its quiet cruelty while allotting enough emotional reserve that by its end you detect a certain, particularly punishing change in the dead Russian weather.
Plus the aura of Phillip fucking Glass on the soundtrack. Word up.