TIFF Review: You Are Not My Mother

Angela is not herself

Irish culture is awash with myths and legends. The lush green countryside of the Emerald Isle is fertile ground for all manner of magical and supernatural creatures. Fairies play a major role in Irish folklore, with myriad tales of the wee folk, An Saol Eile, hawthorn trees and fairy mounds. Indeed, the behatted leprechaun has become one of the figures most synonymous with the country. In You Are Not My Mother, darker elements come to the fore.

Char (Hazel Doupe) is worried about her mother (Carolyn Bracken) who hasn’t been herself lately, spending a lot of time in bed and is generally ‘absent’. When she disappears without trace, the family fear the worst. However, when the single parent reappears without explanation it initially feels like a fresh start. She seems to have a new lease of life, but Char isn’t so sure. Small oddities and differences soon grow into something bigger.

Shot on a limited budget, You Are Not My Mother makes great use of the resources at hand. The uncanny is conjured up in a number of inventive and often terrifying ways. There’s an oddness which runs through the seam of Kate Dolan feature debut. Doupe is superb as the teenager outsider, shunned at school due to her strange family and being ‘weird’. You Are Not My Mother is a great calling card for a filmmaker with bags of potential.  

You Are Not My Mother screens at Toronto International Film Festival.

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