An obituary for eminent French writer Georges Bataille (1897-1962) stated that "he believed that through excess rather than deprivation one could obtain a freedom of the spirit," and in writer-director Christophe Honore's film of Bataille's "Ma Mere" everyone believes in excess, the more wretched the better.
That they're aiming for "freedom of the spirit" is not so clear. What is clear is that graphic displays of sadomasochistic sex can be a total turn-off, no matter how serious the intent may have been on the printed page or that they're presented here with a smidgen of discreet chic, leaving the most extreme behavior to the viewer's imagination. In other words, no matter how distinguished the author of the original novel, "Ma Mere" the movie is so much pretentious Eurotrash.
Louis Garrel's Pierre is yet another pouty teenager who so often turns up in French pictures, both good and bad. He arrives at his parents' Canary Islands villa straight from his Catholic boarding school devoutly religious in spirit but caught up in mutually incestuous feelings with his coolly elegant mother, Helene (Isabelle Huppert). Shortly thereafter his unhappy, unfaithful father (Philippe Duclos) takes off for Nice and his mistress and gets killed in a car accident.