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ME, MYSELF AND MUM

SYNOPSIS: Mrs. Gallienne (Guillaume Gallienne), a rather temperamental upper middle-class lady, has three children, two of whom she considers as her sons and another she calls Guillaume (Guillamue Gallienne). Logically indeed, the latter teenage creature does not picture himself as a boy, rather as a girl or at best as a homosexual. But how can a mother act in such an objectionable way? And why? Through a series of painful chain of experiences, Guillaume will discover little by little who he actually is and will manage to break free from her pernicious influence.

Review by Louise Keller:
A clever and unusual structure differentiates this amusing French coming of age story in which actor Guillaume Gallienne makes an impressive screen writing and directing debut as well as playing both lead roles. It is structured as a one-man play in which Gallienne, wearing school uniform, sits on stage as he canvasses the key elements of his life. By way of illustrating his every point, the action flits to different scenes, times and places, his mother (also played by Gallienne), ever-present. Family relationships and sexuality are the main focus of this quirky, funny and revealing film whose journey culminates in a flourish of emotional ballast.

The film begins in a theatre dressing room and Gallienne (as Guillaume) is about to go on stage. There he sits on a four-poster bed and starts talking about his life - in his high-pitched voice. It's all about his mother, their relationship and their perceptions of each other. The film seamlessly takes us into Guillaume's home, where we meet her. Ironically, her voice is low-pitched; her hair as straight as Guillaume's is curly. Then there is the family dynamic. Much is made of the fact that his father and brothers opt for adventurous athletic holidays, whereas Guillaume is interested in more feminine pursuits. He wants to go to Spain, speak Spanish, listen to Julio Iglesias and learn dancing. 'You are like a girl,' he is told, when he acquires mannerisms that are inspired by his female teacher. 'Mum will be so happy,' he thinks to himself.

The fact that Guillaume speaks like his mother - even his father mistakes him for her - is a source of amusement. I laughed in the scene when his father finds his son fantasising he is part of the Austrian aristocracy. The result? He is sent to boarding school, where he is teased for being effeminate. An English boarding school is next, followed by a hilarious sequence in which Guillaume manages to escape military service. Watch for Diane Kruger as Ingeborg, who gives Guillaume a huge surprise at a Bavarian Spa. The psychiatrist scene in also funny.

Guillaume observes all the unique elements of the women he admires and copies their gestures, noting what sets women apart. Then the issue of his sexuality comes into play: as long as you don't try the two options, you will never know, he is told. Exploring his sexuality is the theme of the resultant play Guillaume decides to write and is the final curve in the long journey. The final, moving monologue explains everything; take special note of who is sitting in the audience. It's a surprising emotional finish and Gallienne delivers convincingly throughout.

Winner of five Cesar Awards, the film has a unique French sensibility and although it takes a while to warm to the main character and discover the rhythms that Gallienne has created, this is a mother son relationship that you will not forget.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Sometimes clever, sometimes contrived and often theatrical, Me, Myself and Mum is a peculiarly French work, with the auteur centre stage - literally - as the narrator and central character, Guillaume, a fuzzy haired young man. Or is he really a girl in a boy's body? Or what? He seems unsure himself, and his mother and brothers treat him as gay.

He is thrust into a series of circumstances which convince us as well, and it takes some patience to persevere with the film until the final 10 minutes when the theatre and screen fuse into the denoument of Guillaume's realisation that frees him from his mother's grip.

A big hit in France, the film benefits from a wonderful score by Marie-Jeanne Serero, and the central performance/s by Gallienne as Guillaume and Mrs Gallienne are theatrically-generated and convincing, even when the screenplay calls for a bit of overstatement. The focus is entirely on Guillaume and he dives in and out of the film and the stage, in and out of reality with his mother popping up, invisible to others, or moving the action mid-scene.

Quirky, yes, but perhaps not as commercially approachable as it was in France, where screen culture is more adventurous and experimentation is welcomed.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

ME, MYSELF AND MUM (MA15+)
(France, 2013)

Les garons et Guillaume, table!

CAST: Guillaume Gallianne, Diane Kruger, Francoise Fabian, Nanou Garcia, Reda Kateb, Gotz Otto,

PRODUCER: Jean-Baptiste Dupont, Alice Girard, Edouard Weil

DIRECTOR: Guillaume Gallianne,

SCRIPT: Guillaume Gallianne,

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Glynn Speeckaert

EDITOR: Valerie Deseine

MUSIC: Marie-Jeanne Serero

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sylvie Olive

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Pinnacle Film

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 5, 2015







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