Simply A Masterpiece
When a movie has you begging for it to end not even half way through it's pure crap. We've all seen this movie and this characters millions of times, nothing new in it. Don't waste your time.
A great movie, one of the best of this year. There was a bit of confusion at one point in the plot, but nothing serious.
Ma Mère, 2004 ~~ Cristophe HonoréViewed as an alternate choice on closing day at the 2004 London Film Festival "MA MÈRE" is a socio-pathological shocker from France, starring one of the best of all Gallic actresses, Isabelle Huppert. I went in knowing nothing about the film except that it was a Huppert vehicle in French, and from the title, "My Mother", expecting some sort of family drama, or possibly, even a comedy. I emerged from the theatre not quite sure whether I was more appalled or more exhilarated, but certain that I had seen still another exceptional Huppert performance (I've seen at least 20 of her previous films), and that this was the best of all possible films with which to conclude my own personal London Film Festival, 2004. Isabelle Huppert is living monster-sacré of an actress totally in control of her act every second on screen. At the same time she is a woman who seems to get sexier with age and wilder and more uninhibited with each succeeding role. In this film, directed by Christophe Honoré and based on a 1977 neo-Rabelaisian novel by Georges Bataille, Huppert is the polymorphically perverse mother of a devoutly religious 17 year old son, who comes to visit her at the parental home on a tropical island in the Canaries — which turns out to be a wall-to-wall den of iniquity of the kind Henry Miller would rub his palms over in glee. Mother, Helène, disappears for days at a time to engage in disgustingly perverse sex orgies with her "girlfriend" (mistress) Rea, whose limitless bag of sexual tricks includes oral-anal osculation and anything else you can think off — SM lashings, foot and boot fetishism – you-name-it – she does it. The son, Pierre (hawk-nosed, bushy-haired, Louis Garrel) is clearly a second-generation pervert in the making, but is sorely inhibited by his religious instincts. Helene makes no secret of her natural inclinations, and tries to protect her son from following suite by making it clear to him, in no uncertain terms, what a disgusting amoral libertine mother she is. Poor Pierre is at first appalled, but eventually fascinated and drawn into his beautiful mother's web of depravity. Maman now unleashes bi-sexual lover Rea on son to teach him the ropes of unfettered carnal gratification.Multiple gang-bangs with Maman and friends ensue, whereupon in an effort to ward off impending incest –(there is still a tattered shred of morality alive in her, somewhere) – Helene sics another lovely young libertine, Hansi (honey blonde beauty Emma de Caunes), on hapless young Pierre, in the hope that this "normal" relationship will straighten him out. Wrong again – Hansi actually falls in love with the by now terribly confused lad, but her idea of straightening him out is to draw him into a brutal sado-masochistic episode, which totally freaks him out. Meanwhile, Mother, who has departed, theoretically for good, finds herself longing to see son once more. Their fatal attraction is finally consummated in a hospital room as Helene stabs herself to death in medio-coito, and Pierre furiously masturbates over her dead body as a perverse looking doctor pulls him away."Ma Mère" is not for the faint-hearted film aesthete, nor would it be anything but confusing for the hard-core porn aficionado crowd either. It is rather an addition to the current school of taboo-busting French confrontational cinema, as championed by such in-your-face film- makers as Catherine Breillat, whose "Anatomie de l'enfer" provoked large scale walkouts at a Market screening of case hardened viewers in Berlin earlier this year. Nevertheless, "La Mere", beautifully shot in hard-edge color, manages to be both revolting and thought provoking at the same time, but could never have achieved such a level of interest without the immensely intelligent performance and mesmerizing physical appeal of anyone but Isabelle Huppert in the title role. The film was turned down by Cannes but screened at the Taormina, Moscow, Toronto, and Chicago festivals. Where it goes next is anybody's guess, but it was the discovery of the London fest for this reviewer.
As a great admirer of Isabell Huppert and her ego-free attitude towards her profession it is sad to see her in such a snooze inducing piece of sleazy art house load of bullocks that this film turns out to be. Interesting enough is not even the idea that lacks any sense, it is the execution, Christopher Honore may not be the worst film director in the world but Haneke he's not. A controversial subject doesn't need to look ugly for audiences to connect on the contrary many directors already proved that point. Honore seems to disagree and as such created one of the most visually ugly films since Catherine Breillat's Romance. Poor choices in cinematography and editing adds confusion to the ugliness of it all. On the other hand Cheap philosophy wrapped in the most unerotic sex scenes since the birth of cinema makes this less exciting then watching 110 minutes of pure white on screen. The only things that saves it from a failure of epic proportions are the actors, but neither Huppert's Piano Teacher influenced performance nor unf inspiring ladies man Louis Garrel manage to give to its viewers the sense of fun and pleasure that they seem to been having on screen. In the end it tries to be what it is not and ends up being nothing but a silly film with a even sillier ending that is only there for reasons of massive plot contrivance.
This movie stole 2 hours of my life and I want them back! I kept watching, hoping against hope, that something would happen in the film to redeem itself, but alas, it was not to be. Watching this movie is the cinematic equivalent of a root canal. And for a movie so full of sex, this is about the least erotic thing I can imagine.While Isabelle Huppert is an undeniably talented and beautiful actress, I can not comprehend what would possess her to star in a film like this. This movie is full of unpleasant people doing unpleasant things, for no discernible reason other than to annoy the viewer. None of the characters are remotely realistic, and their actions and motivations make no sense. In a real world, Isabelle Huppert's character would have been imprisoned and/or institutionalized.The basic story is this: boy goes to live with his parents, dad dies, son pees all over his dad's stuff and masturbates, mom sniffs her son's butt, mom decides to introduce son to a world of sexual deviance and perversion (including participating in group sex with him), mom decides she should leave before the two of them actually have sex (but she conveniently leaves a whore behind for son to fall in love with), mom continues her career as a prostitute, son and whore whip the local restaurateur and cry, mom comes home to cause more trouble, and then mom dies and son masturbates at her coffin.There, I just saved you two hours and quite a few brain cells.
Firstly, let me make it perfectly clear that, unlike 9 out of 10 negative reviews for this atrocity, my objection to the film is not a moral one.Undoubtedly, you have read dozens of comments about how this is an amoral, pernicious insult to human decency. The crux of this review is to say that this would be to give the film far too much credit.'Ma Mere' just smacks of this self-conscious effort to be disturbing, to be offensive, to be shocking. It failed to disturb, offend or shock me, for the simple reason that I could not find any reason whatsoever for anything that happened in this film.In a nutshell, Louis Garrel discovers that his father was a philandering scumbag. Daddy then dies, and little Louis finds out that his mother is basically a hooker. He doesn't really seem the least bit perturbed by this, and happily goes off with Mummy to indulge in the same debauchery as she does. She treats him like s h i t, her "friends" treat him like s h i t, yet - for reasons known only to screenwriter, director and pretentious tw*t extraordinaire Christophe Honore - he still hangs out with them all. What, pray tell, is the point of the film? That the human condition is foulsome, depressing, self-destructive and disgusting? Well, duh!As I have said, this film seems to go out of its way to be offensive, under the guise of a film that is merely observing offensive people. I watched the film on DVD and was particularly amused by Honore and the formerly lovely Emma de Caunes trying to convince me in a supplementary interview that "none of the sex is gratuitous" and that "every sex scene serves a purpose". Give me a break! 'Last Tango in Paris' (which, for the record, I think is a stunning film) had a point, but this!?! Among my favourite examples of how self-consciously foulsome this dollop is, are the scene where one of Mere's friends sticks her finger up Garrel's arse and then Mummy dutifully sniffs it, and the scene where Emma de Caunes sticks her hand up her "still dripping" womanhood and wipes it onto Garrel's chest."Wow! That's, like, so profound", I hear you say. My sentiments precisely.Beyond this, none of the characters make any sense, least of all our main protagonist. Garrel is treated like crap but still loves (yes, loves) his mother. He fires their servants for *no reason what-so-ever*, he dupes some poor German kid into being hogtied and whipped for *no reason what-so-ever*, he falls in love with Emma de Caunes for *no reason what-so-ever*. It's just completely ludicrous. It's as if a ten year old with a boner wrote the script. This is the kind of film that Beavis & Butthead would enjoy.I ask you, Honore, who am I supposed to identify with? Failing that, in whom am I supposed to invest any emotional interest? I simply did not give a hoot about anyone in this movie and, thus, could not have cared less about anything that was happening. Didn't they teach you that in film school? I know the French New Wave threw the book out of the window, but surely some of the rules still stand? Apparently not...I repeat, I have no moral objection to this pile of steaming cinematic turd, but I simply could not find a point to any of it. My wife found it "intensely boring", which I felt was unfair to boredom and intensity.Indeed, it does not relent form trying to be shocking/poignant long enough for it to get boring. I actually held the faith - right until the final frame, when Garrel falls to the ground beside his mother's coffin and starts masturbating - I held the faith that the point of the past two hours would be revealed. Then the credits rolled.All this film does that is of any note is to go so far up its own arse that is almost comes off as parody. It's a shame Honore didn't realise that before releasing the film, or we could have been looking at the funniest film since 'Airplane'.Sadly, instead we are looking at the most pretentious (and I hardly ever use that word) film since someone handed Asia Argento a camera.