Ma Mere (2005)



Critic Consensus: Pretentious, overly perverse and dull.

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Movie Info

An attractive widow finds her attentions turning to her teenage son in a troubling manner in this drama from France. Pierre (Louis Garrel) is a moody 17-year-old who is spending the summer with his parents at their summer home in the Canary Islands. While Pierre isn't especially close to his father (Philippe Duclos), he enjoys a warm relationship with his mother, Hélène (Isabelle Huppert) -- almost too warm, as her affection for him subtly strains the boundaries of typical familial behavior. When Pierre's father dies unexpectedly in an auto accident, his emotional dependence on Hélène grows, while her desire for her son does the same. Though Pierre finds himself attracted to several girls his own age summering on the island, he finds it increasingly difficult to reconcile his curiosity with the growing sexual tension between mother and son.
NC17 (for strong and aberrant sexual content)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Isabelle Huppert
as Hélène
Louis Garrel
as Pierre
Philippe Duclos
as The Father
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Ma Mere

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (16)

A self-satisfied, utterly hollow Bacchanal.

Full Review… | August 18, 2005
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

110 minutes of Euro silliness mitigated only by the presence of Huppert and the striking ability of the actors to keep a straight face throughout this mess.

Full Review… | July 29, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Probably isn't for anyone not interested in the darkest corners of the human psyche, where sexual annihilation is the only response to a fallen world, where all moral bets are off, and where a boy's worst friend is his mother.

Full Review… | July 8, 2005
Boston Globe
Top Critic

[The climax] involves such a disturbing blend of unhealthy mother-son affection and physical pain that it gives new meaning to the term child -- not to mention audience -- abuse.

Full Review… | July 7, 2005
Washington Post
Top Critic

It could stand as Exhibit A for why French auteurs are a tough sell to the average seeker of entertainment.

Full Review… | July 1, 2005
Toronto Star
Top Critic

The translation from the highly literary to the literalness of film isn't easy and too often, Ma Mère feels like a parody.

July 1, 2005
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ma Mere


Despite how flat it seems at first, this French film is so provocative and perverse that I'm afraid there won't be too many people getting its point, and I love how it explores the vulnerability of Garrel's character through his constant nudity and overflowing sexual desire.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


European cinema at its best! Producer Paulo Branco has been producing some of the best films and best directors in Europe and this is one of the latest ones. Absolutely amazing, in depicting obsession, incest, dysfunction, love, selfishness, acceptation, pain... It's particularly brilliant how time and space is (not) presented. 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...

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer


Pierre is the product of a very unconventional marriage. Both his parents lead promiscuous lives and he spends most of his childhood in a Catholic boarding school. Soon after he returns home, now a young man, his father dies and his mother, undeterred by her husband's death, draws her son into her perverse lifestyle. 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.)

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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