I saw the strap line of a review for ‘Tom à la ferme’ just after watching the film; it read, “dark yet strangely romantic.”
I’d go along with that although I’d also add “disjointed” and “complicated” but that’s “disjointed” to the film’s advantage and “complicated” in the way that only the most dis functional of relationships can be at times, be they relationships of the family or of passion.
It’s this sort of blend of ingredients that renders us utterly unable to avert our eyes or quell our ever growing sense of intrigue and it makes for a very unsettling, yet captivating viewing experience; “captivating” being very much the key word here.
Add to this, secrets and lies, a mild case of Stockholm syndrome, misplaced love, abuse and an overall sense of deep-rooted unhappiness and that’s quite a messed up recipe.
A mother from a family ‘unit’ that’s almost entirely unravelled, grieving for the loss of a son she really knew very little about. She lives in a world of denial with an elder, psychotic son that she can barely bring herself to love. He himself harbours a sinister past and an equally unsavoury present, in a town that has disowned them both.
…and then there’s Tom, unwittingly stumbling into the middle of it all.
Will he be the catalyst for the building of family bridges or will his own truth (bizarrely perhaps the biggest unspoken secret of all) be the final straw? The tale unfolds…
This certainly ain’t Disney, but it’s an excellently observed piece from director and lead role (Tom) Xavier Dolan and definitely one of the year’s highlights to date.