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View All Walk Away Renee News
All Critics (9)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (4)
| Rotten (5)
"Walk Away Renee" lets us observe a mother-son bond, but Mr. Caouette hasn't found a way to galvanize this incarnation of material for strangers.
Produced on a far more elaborate scale than "Tarnation,'' which Caouette assembled at a cost of $213.32 on his boyfriend's laptop computer. And that's mostly not a good thing.
Renee really does feel something like a remake of Tarnation, this time with more budget and less feeling.
Caouette certainly knows how to manipulate images and sound, painting on a vibrantly textured, semi-experimental canvas. But aside from visual stimulation set to some cool music, none of the fictional stuff adds much.
Hermetic, autobiographical, messy, and ultimately touching.
Caouette hasn't gone as deep this time, alternately recapping the events of Tarnation in segments that feel too long and taking his mother on a U-Haul road trip from Texas to New York, a journey that lacks variation.
It's Jonathan Caouette's insistence in going back to his nightmarish old footage, or the old footage that he purposefully renders nightmarish, that seems more interesting.
Both a love letter and a break-up. It shows a deep bond between mother and son, but also the veritable chasm that mental illness represents between those struggling with it and those who love them.
The catalog of horrors occasionally feels incomplete (who's holding the camera in the most intimate scenes?), but the movie does an exceptional job of expanding on its narrow focus.
Jonathan Caouette documents moving his mentally ill mother Renee from a group home in Houston to one in New York to be closer to him; on the trip she loses her medication and dementia and paranoia set in. Some of the scenes appear to be recreations, and there are curious psychedelic montages to illustrate mom's crazy state of mind. A touching, if meandering, tribute.
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