Worth A Look: 11.76%
Pretty Bad: 11.76%
Total Crap: 58.82%
1 review, 11 user ratings
by Erik Childress
SCREENED AT THE 2004 CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: For all the posturing that sexually politicized Americans use to praise the French and their liberating attitudes towards funtime, why is it that their most sexually charged films do their best to sicken rather than explore or educate? Catherine Breillat is frequently the most repugnant of culprits, but maybe she’s found a low-level soulmate in Christophe Honore. They can read the works of George Bataille together and then pee into each other’s orifices. I may not be the greatest champion of everything to come out of France, but I certainly sympathize if they don’t want this mommy as their representation of a productive homelife.Andy Warhol-ish dad (Philippe Duclos) is bringing his son, Pierre (Louis Garrel) from Catholic boarding school off to the Canary Islands to be with his mother, Helene (Isabelle Huppert). Warhol-ish because (1) he looks just like him and (2) he croaks after about 15 minutes. Helene makes no pleasantries about comforting Pierre, instead feeding him stories about dad’s infidelities and the wild past she had before she gave birth. Pierre goes into a funk by not getting out of bed, eating day-old food and stinking to high heaven and low hell. In other words – being French.
"Pierre And Mommy Sittin' In A Tree..."
When he finally musters up the gumption to actually walk around the house, he finds a truckload of hidden porn. To celebrate he takes off his pants and jams them wood-to-wood into the floorboards. Then he pees on them and we get to watch where it comes from. Hey, who hasn’t done that? I made the big mistake of eating pastry during this scene and after The Dreamers, I’d like an official embargo on seeing Garrel’s shwantz.
Back to mama though who tells us that “desire reduces us to weakness.” Yeah, that and a visible ring in a sunbather’s nuts. Helene talks of the time she rode bareback in the woods. “That’s when I slept with your father.” With a disclosure like that, you would not be surprised if the next line revealed Pierre to be the descendant of a Shetland pony. In fact, let’s sit-in on a little conversation between Mom and (fake) Pierre.
Helene: “I’m happy to be here alone with you. I have you all to myself. They’ll think you’re my lover. Would you be ashamed?”
Pierre: How about yeah, you crazy sick French broad.
Helene: “No one respects me.”
Pierre: Ya think?
Helene: Have you met my friend, Rea? (Joana Preiss) We make out and stuff.
Pierre: That’s great mom. She’s about as attractive as a face made entirely of teeth, eyebrows and 45-degree angles. Can I go pray and throw up?
Helene: She says she can’t wait to eat your "filthy little ass" and clean your "adorably shitty hole."
Pierre: Vomit rising.
Rea: “The origin of the world is in this hole.”
Pierre: Hey, who invited you to this conversation?
Helene: “I want you to love me for the shame I inspire in you.”
Pierre: Well then I love you to infinity, mom.
Helene: In “an ideal world a pure friendship would unite us. But this is not an ideal world.”
Pierre: Maybe not the world you live in, psycho. Wait a minute, you don’t mean...pure...unite...ewwwwww.
Helene: Come on darlin’, don’t you have any questions for dear ol’ mom?
Pierre: Actually I have three. (1) Why does Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings play every time I go to the beach? I keep getting the urge to watch Platoon. (2) Did our relationship inspire Jim Thompson to write The Grifters? (3) Why does “Ideal” in French sound like “Idiot.”
Helene: Sorry darlin’, mommy has to go away now. I’ll leave you in the hands of this cute blonde sadist I know (Emma de Caunes)
Pierre: She is pretty hot. “Her ass makes me realize that I never really loved God.”Now that’s a freakin’ ass, huh? The fact that its more of an initiation for Pierre until mom can come back is more than a little icky. Ma Mere does little more than offer cheap sex and taboos in place of actual eroticism and characters who could easily be classified as insane. How else do you explain some of the things you just read or Pierre running down the street in the rain babbling to himself? Actually, that reminds me of an old joke about how the French bathe. It’s not raining here as I write this, but I definitely have an appointment with a shower.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10566&reviewer=198
originally posted: 10/14/04 03:25:13
|OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.