Director: Xavier Dolan
Year Released: 2014
Working-class single mom "Die" (Anne Dorval) takes in her profoundly disturbed (and suicidal) teenage son (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) and, with the assistance of a kind next door neighbor (Suzanne Clément), tries to keep him under control (spoiler: they don't and they can't). Dolan, who's not afraid of excess (he relishes it), turns this into a two-plus hour shouting fest: there is absolutely no restraint to his approach (which becomes exhausting very early), plus his selection of tacky pop songs (Dido, Céline Dion, frickin' Eiffel 65) and fiddling with the aspect ratio (isn't the movie cramped enough as is?) are grating aesthetic decisions. As I wrote with Laurence Anyways (which is significantly better due to its complicated core relationship), Dolan is gifted but needs to learn how to exercise some level of restraint and get better at modulating his tone if he's ever going to become 'great': he already has an uncanny knack for working with actresses (like Cukor and Fassbinder before him), so that's already a major advantage, but his scripts could use some pruning and, in this case, a cup or three of chamomile tea.