“If you see my mother”, the archetype of the “Jewish mother”

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Abusive mothers have long been the honey of filmmakers and creators of series. Jealous, manipulative, suffocating, disliked or unlovable, even downright unworthy, they exert their grip on their offspring, from horror films to the most joyful comedies. In 1989, in Le Oedipus plot, one of the three sketches of New york stories, Woody Allen imagined a hilarious nightmare like a Jewish joke: an invasive mother, mysteriously evaporated during a magic show, continued to poison the life of her son by appearing in the sky, above the buildings!

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This medium-length film is one of the sources of inspiration claimed by Nathanaël Guedj for his first feature film. If you see my mothere. We find the same dark humor, the same taste for psychoanalysis in this comedy full of fantasy and mischief. At over 30, Max (Félix Moati) has still not cut the cord with Monique (Noémie Lvovsky), widow and owner of the restaurant “Chez maman”. Single, he nicknamed her the “woman of his life” and never left home without his supply of small dishes cooked with love. She overprotects herself and fails to announce her next departure for Japan where she plans to start her life over.

Archetype of the “Jewish mother”

When Monique died suddenly of a heart attack, Max was devastated. On the day of the funeral, as he prepares to enjoy a highly symbolic piece of homemade cake, Monique appears. Very quickly, she manifests herself in all matters, draped in shimmering kimonos, delivering acerbic reflections and torpedoing her budding idyll with her colleague Ohiana (Sara Giraudeau). Supernatural manifestation or neurotic delirium? As a psychotherapist, Ohiana will quickly be able to make sense of things, but how long will she be able to endure this household of three?

The sparkling presence of Noémie Lvovsky in the skin of the “ghost” full of verve gives a lot of spice to this TV movie. She jubilantly embodies the archetype of the “Jewish mother”: intractable, possessive, mingling with everything, under protective and generous surroundings. Full of two-way lines, the dialogues are a hit. Beyond the farce, If you see my mother offers a touching reflection on motherhood which, even when dysfunctional, conceals treasures of tenderness and complicity. And on the painful mourning process, which Max will go through, from denial to acceptance.

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