En résumé : Miss J. me fait des infidélités et se presse au cinéma tandis que je sue au travail … veinarde! Quoique, à réflexion, voyant ce qu’elle a dû ici s’imposer, je me félicite des mes autres activités.
I recently had the opportunity to dash off after work for an impromptu cinema session, but didn’t want to pick anything that would have also made good viewing for Monsieur D. Maman ended up fitting the bill almost perfectly. Unfortunately, I would have been better off giving it a miss, too.
The concept is quite amusing and even a little Journée de la Jupe: two well-heeled sisters, Sandrine (Mathilde Seigner) and Alice (Marina Foïs) become so frustrated by their startlingly unmaternal mother (Josiane Balasko) that they drug her and take her hostage to a big house on the Normandy coast. They chain her up and berate her at length. She proves utterly remorseless and mawkish, so the nicer of the two sisters completely cracks and heads for the gun cabinet.
Doesn’t that sound like an excellent idea for a black comedy? Well I thought so, but unfortunately it all goes horribly wrong in practice. Fifty thousand barrels of melodrama have been glooped all over the production. It’s self-indulgent, woodenly overwrought, and above all, far too long. What could have made a snappy short with a twist dawdles horribly; a cavernous, dusty, tiresome piece of hand wringing.
It is unusual and arguably laudable for a film to examine so closely a grotesque form of ‘anti-mother’, whom Josiane Balasko does manage to render extremely unappealing. Unfortunately, she’s regularly upstaged by her daughters in that department, and I’m not sure that was intentional. Despite the energy and conviction of the cast, all in all it’s a missed opportunity lacking in subtlety, and devoid of truly convincing characterisation.