» » Mon fils à moi (2006)

Short summary

Julien and his mum care for each other very much. But Julien has committed a deadly sin: he is growing into a teenager! Worse, he has found himself a girlfriend of his age. "Mummy" is not going to tolerate such an ignominy. Julien is HER baby and will remain HERS for ever, encouraged in her "crusade" by her bovine husband and barely thwarted by the more courageous interventions of Suzanne, Julien's sympathetic big sister.

French visa # 109310 delivered on 14-12-2006.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Jeyn
    Turning the page from childhood into adolescence, Julien seems to be a very happy child with lots of things to do. A straight 20 (that's A) student, a football player in the team that is preparing its next championship, a dedicated pupil of his own granny who teaches him piano and loves him dearly; a happy child starting a relationship with a girl at school.

    With passionate and memorable performances of all the cast, definitely Nathalie Baye leads the pack with a terrific impersonation of Julien's mother. A pity this time Olivier Gourmet had a small but very effective role as the father. Marie Kremer as Julien's sister is fantastic, but Victor Sévaux as Julien is one of the best roles played by a child I've ever seen. He reminded me the amazing character of Ken Loach's "Kes" or the powerful performance of Christian Bale in "The Empire of the Sun", or, maybe closer in time, Juanjo Ballesta in "El Bola", a film that deals with the subject matter of Mon Fils à Moi.

    The script is written in the same vein as some of the Dardenne's brothers films: fast cuts into expressions that tell even the text in the mind of the characters. Mme. Baye's character is mesmerising, to say the least. One difficult role to play as a deranged over-protecting mother that relies in her power to determine her son's fate. Absolutely diabolical and very disturbing.

    This is a film that has the power of moving every fibre in your mind and heart, even physically. There is one scene of incredible tension that leads to the not so expected end where you will feel how your heart-rate increases dramatically.

    Shot with lots of natural light and intelligent camera angles and movements, it never lets you go. A beautiful, difficult to watch film that will stay with you for a long time... and I mean it, it's just too hard to see when love is turned into slavery and that slavery is justified as love.

    These are the kind of films that have a brave approach to difficult subjects and give you the opportunity to discuss it many times.
  • comment
    • Author: Nuadazius
    12-year-old Julien lives with his mother, father and sister in a French suburb. His strict activity calendar consist of school, piano lessons with his grandmother, dancing hours with his mother, soccer practice with the boys and homework. His sister studies, his mother is a housewife and his father comes home from work late at night. Besides his regular routines Julien spends time with his girlfriend Alice, but his routine based days are starting to wear him down, and when his mother finds out that his grades are decreasing she demands better results from her son. Julien tries to please his mother, but is unable to meet her demands. In time she becomes controlling, questions everything he does and forces him to lie to his friends so that she can spend more time with him. Julien feels trapped in his own home and decides to ignore his mother's demands. His mother is broken by her sons disobedience and starts humiliating her son. Julien's silent and distant father shows him little interest and attention, has no idea about what is happening and lives on like everything is perfectly alright. Julien continues to ignore his mothers demands, but doesn't realize the consequences of his actions. His mother reveals him again, and this time she deprives him of all social interaction with others. She can't tolerate his behavior and begins to abuse him mentally and physically. Julien is isolated in his home and his mental state is regressing.

    Martial Fougeron's steady, structural and stylistically directed psychological drama about child upbringing, is narrated mostly from the main character's point of view and is a dense and tense study of character of a tyrannical mother and her victimized son which is superbly acted by the whole ensemble, and especially by veteran actress Nathalie Baye as the mother and Victor Sévaux in his debut feature film role as the son. This distinctly photographed chamber piece where the dialog creates as much tension as the subtle editing, manages to maintain a persistent claustrophobic and foreboding atmosphere and is a highly concentrated thriller about a shattered French upper class family.
  • comment
    • Author: Phallozs Dwarfs
    A mother's love for a son that is growing up too fast before her eyes and her refusal to admit to the fact, is something no one is prepared for, yet, the woman at the center of this story decided to keep Julien all for herself. There are hints that something more sinister is going on in this strange relationship, or even incest, when the mother refuses to let her son have a normal life.

    Julien, a straight A student, starts losing his interest in school, as well as in playing the piano. His grandmother has taught him from the beginning; he shows talent for playing the instrument, but he refuses to go on. His grades begin to plunge, something of concern for his teacher at the high school he attends. Julien's father, at the same time, is too preoccupied to see what is happening to the young man.

    At the same time, this mother instead of showing her maternal love, displays a cruelty like we haven't seen in films in quite a while. The relationship, as it is, can't go on like this. The father of Julien doesn't seem to realize what is going on, or perhaps he refuses to believe what her daughter points out to him. The situation, we know, can't stay the way it is because of its foundation. This mother doesn't want to let go and her love for Julien turns into a tragedy for the whole family.

    We watched this film on cable recently. It probably didn't get an American release based on the contents, but who knows if it ever seen in this country. Directed with style by Martial Fougeron, who co-wrote the script with Florence Eleakim, this is a disturbing film, clearly not targeted for the general public. A Belgian-French co-production, the film surprises because of the way the creators have delved under the characters to show a different kind of relationship between a mother and a son like it has not been seen in a while.

    Natalie Baye, a French actress, proved a surprise in her take of the mother. Ms. Baye, who has spent her life in front of a camera, shows to be a natural for the woman on the screen. Ms. Baye shows an uncanny intelligence in her performance that is never a caricature of the tormented soul she is supposed to be. Also notable, the young actor Victor Sevaux, whose luminous presence makes Julien comes across as perhaps he was supposed to have been this boy the brilliant team behind this film had in mind. Oliver Gourmet, Emmanuelle Riva, and Marie Kremer, are also seen in supporting roles.

    Take a chance in watching this film because Martial Fougeron and Natalie Baye make a wonderful contribution to this film that will be hard to forget.
  • comment
    • Author: Qumenalu
    a mother. her family. and her son. scenes from a war. picture of a disorganized family. more than a film, a scale of tension, emotions, desires. because the possessive mother, the disobedient son, the absent father are only masks of a society. the refuges - football, grand mother piano lessons, the girl friend , career are fragile refuges. essence - nuances of fear. the fear of mother for future failure of Julien. the fear of father front of every day events. the fear of son , like fear of each teenager to be out of circle. and the seed of fear - different definition of love. nothing else. only a precise beautiful performance of each actor and the subtle picture of each piece of crisis. a cold movie. but suitable for everyday bruises.
  • comment
    • Author: Ironrunner
    Believable heart wrenching horrible unhealthy story about a mother too much in love with her son, smothering him with over-protection, and going even further. 12 year old Julien had his mother as best friend, or rather the opposite. He is his mother's best friend. She does not know when to let go, and she does not know when to give him the needed space, not understanding growing up and going into puberty, and the trauma the boy feels by this.

    Extremely well played by the two main persons. The mother is a mother from hell, played by a frightening Nathalie Baye. The father is ignorant to what goes on, being distant as many are. Julien, brilliantly played by Victor Sevaux, tries all he can to get away from home for a day or two, trying to make his mother love him less. It's painful to watch. When his sisters addresses that Julien is not happy and well, she is ignored.

    When mother finds a love letter to her son in the mail from his girlfriend Alice, she opens it with no hesitation, and reacts as jealous as it's possible to do. The sister tells, and he finds the letter shred to pieces in the junk. He's not allowed to do anything without the mother approving and telling in beforehand. And when he decides to show appreciation, she reacts like a psycho.

    But after a while Julien is driven into a corner, and decides to act...
  • comment
    • Author: Longitude Temporary
    SPOILERS (with references to "Play Misty for Me", "The Manchurian Candidate", "Don't Look Now" and "Psycho 2" that could also contain spoilers)

    Cineasts seem besotted by "top ten" lists; ten greats, ten worst, ten desert island favourites; I could go on...However, by way of introduction to "Mon Fils a Moi" allow me to suggest another category; the greatest human monsters in cinema. Rather than boring you with ten, I've chosen a small group that I think are about the best. Possibly as I am male, it is the female ones that intrigue me the most. It was so much more unnerving to experience Clint Eastwood being pursued by a female slasher in "Play Misty for Me" than all those women fleeing deranged men with knives in endless dark house movies. And how about Donald Sutherland's fate at the hands of the dwarf in the red mac in "Don't Look Now", almost the only film that still really terrifies me, having got used to the terror in the Clint Eastwood work which is more a tragedy of unrequited love than a horror flick. Which brings me to the classification of the female monster into two broad types, the evil and the sick. The greatest of the evil must surely be Angela Lansbury in "The Manchurian Candidate" for whom no act could be too despicable in her pursuit of political and even world domination. I had always thought Jessica Walter in "Misty" the greatest of the sickos but can now record that she has been equalled by Nathalie Baye in a recent off-beat French work "Mon Fils a Moi" by Martial Fougeron, a director new to me. This is a minor but completely engrossing vignette of a dysfunctional family, all the more claustrophobic for being mainly confined to a small group of characters, mum, dad, adolescent daughter and son just entering puberty. They live in a respectable detached house in a quiet residential part of a provincial town. Dad is a college teacher, Mum a housewife, daughter about to go on to higher education and son just a boy, albeit not doing too well at school. As the film progresses we quickly realise that the boy's condition is far from normal. Not only are his grades bad but he is off his food. Almost from the beginning there are many telltale signs that the problem is Mum. Her pathological love of the boy is about to result in the disintegration of the family as she attempts to stifle every sign of his adolescent development. The more the boy tries to distance himself the more the mother retaliates by forcing him to relinquish his interests one by one. Eventually he is left in an almost empty room with nothing he can call his own. Even his beloved piano has been taken away by removal men. There is a particularly poignant moment where he uses his knees as a dummy keyboard. The daughter is the only one to retaliate on her brother's behalf but she hasn't the strength to cope with Mum's viciousness. Dad's defence mechanism is to ignore everything going on around him by immersing himself in work, but even he can hardly bear his wife's callousness after a party the boy attends against her wishes. Olivier Gourmet is particularly fine in his uncharacteristic part of a weakling. How true to type is his almost inevitable apology after delivering her a single blow. The director paces the film with the assuredness of a master. The increase in tension through gradually notching up the level of violence is the stuff of the truly outstanding psychological thriller. How will it all end? Just how much more can the son take before he snaps? Suffice to say that this must have have been one of the most extraordinarily difficult films to end without going over the top into melodrama. All the more reason to admire the last line in which Mum is quoted as saying she she has forgiven her son. Nathalie Baye's superb performance would suggest just the opposite, that there is no ending, and, as Norman Bates says in "Psycho 2", it could all start up again.
  • comment
    • Author: Kajishakar
    This review may contain slight spoilers.

    This is the heartbreaking story of Julien, a young and bright schoolboy from a seemingly normal family. Julien's dad is a hard-working academic at university, his mother a great cook who keeps the household going, and Julien's older sister is about to enter university. We quickly learn that all is not well. Julien's manipulative mother has a major issue with her son growing up and would like to keep him at home, as hers alone. When he starts rebelling and questioning her actions, she starts unraveling, mentally and even physically assaulting Julien. She clearly has serious psychological problems.

    His indifferent, remote father is a busy man, who in his spare time escapes home by playing tennis with his mates. Julien's dad turns a blind eye, even when his sister complains to him about the way her spiteful and controlling mother is treating her younger brother. Things get worse, with Julien threatening to commit suicide. Then one afternoon, it all comes to a point...

    This is a depressing, unsettling and somewhat manipulative psychological drama with outstanding performances by Julien (Victor Séveax) and his hateful, selfish mother (Nathalie Baye). Great camera-work and excellent, foreboding soundtrack too. 8/10.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Nathalie Baye Nathalie Baye - Mother / La mère
    Victor Sévaux Victor Sévaux - Julien / Son
    Olivier Gourmet Olivier Gourmet - Father / Le père
    Marie Kremer Marie Kremer - Suzanne / Sister
    Emmanuelle Riva Emmanuelle Riva - Grandmother / La grand mère
    Michèle Moretti Michèle Moretti - Principal / La proviseur
    Valentine Stach Valentine Stach - Alice / Julien's Girlfriend
    Thomas Silberstein Thomas Silberstein - Sam
    Nicole Gros Nicole Gros - La pâtissière
    Maxime Monsimier Maxime Monsimier - Copain Julien 1
    Julien Oracz Julien Oracz - Copain Julien 2
    Ludmila Ruoso Ludmila Ruoso - Policewoman / Femme policier
    Sébastien Guisset Sébastien Guisset - Un policier
    Esteban Challis Esteban Challis - Un policier
    Olivier Brunet Olivier Brunet - Déménageur piano 1
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