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Monday, January 06, 2014

Sean Kelly

Canada's Top Ten: My Thoughts on Tom at the Farm

tomatthefarm

From director Xavier Dolan (Laurence Anyways), comes this darkly humorous psychological thriller.  After the death of his lover Guy, Tom (Dolan) travels from Montreal to the countryside and stays at the farm of Guy’s family, while attending the funeral.  Guy’s mother Agathe (Lise Roy) never knew that her son was a homosexual and his psychotic older brother Francis (Pierre-Yves Cardinal) wants to make sure Tom keeps up the illusion that Guy was in a relationship with a girl named Sara (Evelyne Brochu).  Following the funeral, it quickly becomes apparent that Francis does not want Tom to leave and Tom finds himself stuck between a senile grieving mother and a son with dark secrets of his own.

Tom at the Farm is based on the play by Michel Marc Bouchard and is a rather isolated story, with much of the plot made up of interactions between the four or so central characters.  The film is hard for me to describe, since it is one that goes into many different places.  At the film’s core are the interactions between Tom and Francis, which ends up being a quite complicated relationship.  Francis is quite bipolar in his interactions with Tom, since he would be threatening Tom in one scene, while bonding with him in the next.  While Tom is essentially forced to remain at the farm against his will, there comes a point in the film when he becomes used doing chores and having a purpose and is reluctant to leave when initially given a chance.

While it would be easiest to call Tom at the Farm a psychological thriller, the film also has a number darkly humorous moments, particularly involving the interactions with Agathe.  Her character is interesting, since even though she is practically senile and oblivious to the fact that her son was a homosexual, there are some scenes in the film that hint that she knows more than she lets on.  There is also the complicated relationship Agathe has with Francis, since he believes that he has to remain on the farm to take care of her.  However, with Agathe on the verge of having to be admitted into a nursing home, Francis has set out to find someone to replace her in his life – namely Tom.

Overall, I would say that Tom at the Farm is a somewhat interesting character study, in which the title character finds himself stuck in a twisted mind game.  While this is a hard film for me to fully pin down, I can confidently say that I enjoyed the film and I would be interested in checking out the other films in Xavier Dolan’s growing filmography.

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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).