Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Day My Mother Became A Monster (2017) Film Review
The Day My Mother Became A Monster
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Candice (Josephine Bernetti) is preparing to celebrate her ninth birthday. There are banners and party hats, a gathering of friends beside the swimming pool. It ought to be the happiest of times. But something is wrong with her mother (Gretel Delattre). Maybe it's because she's been bitten by a tortoise at the veterinary practice where she works. Maybe it's something else. As a strange physical transformation begins to overwhelm her, the bond between mother and daughter is threatened, and the man who has been central to both their lives, even in his absence, finds a way to come between them.
Introduced with a bedtime story about a lonely monster saved by friendship, the film is essentially a two-hander, with young Bernetti comfortably holding her own. On the cusp of adult life, Candice is full of passion and excitement, evident as she performs karaoke in her living room. Not yet sexual, these feelings focus on her love for her father. Her mother, meanwhile, carries both their frustration at his absence, guilt at having failed to hold onto him for her daughter's sake, anger at his betrayal. There's a suggestion that menopause is carrying her out of that stage of life, and that the tension it provokes is making it harder and harder for her to set her own passions aside.
The Day My Mother Became A Monster screened at Fantasia 2018, and has its share of fantasy and horror moments - visually, in the transformation, and psychologically, in the twisting of the central relationship. Is Candice safe in the house with her mother? Suddenly faced with responsibility for her, she gets a taste of the more bitter flavours of adult life.
It's never entirely clear how much of what is happening might be visible to others and how much exists in the shared imaginary between mother and child. This dark little tale casts shadows on the real world.Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2018