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You Are Not My Mother – TIFF21

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You Are Not My Mother – TIFF21

Synopsis:
In a North Dublin housing estate Char’s mother goes missing. When she returns Char is determined to uncover the truth of her disappearance and unearth the dark secrets of her family.
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A teenage girl becomes disturbed by the sudden change in the personality of her mother in . Char () is a North Dublin teenager, whose depressed mother Angela () suddenly vanishes, worrying Char, her grandfather Rita (), and uncle Aaron (). However, Angela suddenly reappears in the middle of the night, but there is something much different about her. Char soon comes to learn that the sudden change in her mother might have something to do with an incident that happened when she was a child.

You Are Not My Mother is an Irish folk horror film by writer and director Kate Dolan. At the centre of the story is Char, a teenage girl who is the victim of bullying a school, while also being concerned about the mental health of her mother Angela. However, after going missing for a day, Angela suddenly has a noticeable change in personality, which initially seems like it could be for the better, but Char begins to notice behaviours that are almost disturbing. As Halloween approaches, the true nature of Angela's changes becomes much more apparent.

While the film does have an interesting premise the combines the changes in personality that come from mental illness with Irish folklore, You Are Not My Mother is marred somewhat by its slow pace and somewhat unsatisfying payoff. The film also has a very grating subplot, involving Char being a victim to a group of bullies, lead by the very sociopathic Kelly (Katie White), which feels really out of place in the film, other than to establish a secondary antagonist for Char. Ultimately, You Are Not My Mother is a fine folk horror tale, but it doesn't leave much of a lasting impression.

You Are Not My Mother is screening as part of Midnight Madness at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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