Tom at the Farm (2013)
Xavier Dolan, the internet tells me, is the golden boy of Canadian film and rightly so. At 27, he has already written and directed more movies than some of his more seasoned colleagues. Tom at the Farm is his fourth feature length film, and with it he ventures into psychological thriller territory.
Tom, played by none other than Dolan himself, attends his boyfriend’s funeral in rural Canada, where he meets his family for the first time: the mother, who doesn’t know about her son’s sexuality, and his volatile older brother, with whom Tom enters into a twisted relationship marked by sado-masochism and repressed desire.
Dolan has been accused of narcissism, and you can see why: he’s in almost every shot, the camera lingering incessantly on his pretty boy face. But there’s no denying that he is an impressive actor and a very talented director. Tom at the Farm is atmospheric, dark and symbolic. Sure, it has some flawed scenes in which Dolan’s immaturity glimmers, most of them in the final half hour of the movie.
But by that time I was hooked on the subtle acting and brilliant writing: for example, when the brother pressures Tom to tell his mother what Sarah, the sham girlfriend, has said about her son, the writing is intensely moving and absurdly comical at the same time. I look forward to watching more by this promising auteur.