Thankful for World Cinema: Mother, I Love You (2013)
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Mother, I Love You (2013)
Mother, I Love You tells a tale that upon initially glancing at the synopsis may seem like it’s been told a time too often.
Raimonds, a 12 year old boy, falls into a world of petty crime while trying to stay out of trouble with his mother.
However, one thing to admire about the synopsis is that it is not intent on divulging too much of the forthcoming film. A reductive synopsis, for this viewer, is preferable as opposed to an excessive amount of plot detail. This is in essence the plot.
The intriguing thing about this film is that it’s not an overly-stylized treatment. There are no affectations of gangs or syndicates. Not that the stakes aren’t high but the film is concerned first and foremost with it characters, how they react to situations and the consequences of their actions. A simple happenstance of fate, some free time and boredom are what allow Raimonds to travel down the rabbit hole.
However, the domino effect of that one choice comes into play when things start to go wrong for him. Lies are told and further crimes occur. Ultimately, he knows he’s come to a crossroads and must decide whether to head back in the right direction or wander out past the point of no return.
The film also admirably keeps these events grounded closer to what might resemble and actual reality. It still fills the dramatic need of a given conflict or scene but without going overboard with dramatic histrionics that can viewed as compulsory.
There are arcs for the main figures involved that are very believable as well as well-drawn supporting players. The two lead performances, that of Raimonds (Kristofers Konavalovs) and Mamma (Vita Varpina), are captivating and truthful. The chemistry shared and created by them as scene partners allow subtext, lines left unsaid, to speak volumes.
There is a briskness to this film in pace that may feel it feeling rushed if not well-directed and -edited, but that is not the case here. The direction and editing are first-rate. The tone of the film is established immediately, the scenes underscored effectively through wondrous musical choices.
Mother, I Love You aside from an overriding plotline that could be plucked from any corner of the globe does have its cultural specificity to Latvia and effectively opens a window into that microcosm. While doing that though, it does create its characters as individuals rather than types, they are imbued with personality and it’s their home through their eyes we see. This is a compelling, engaging, accessible film that rewards those digging a bit deeper (if they choose to), and it’s a film that should be sought out.