best film:  Mommy. Anne Dorval is in Xavier Dolan’s three best films. In just a few years span, Dolan made I Killer My Mother (2009), Laurence Anyways (2012), and Mommy (2014) and all warrant consideration for this top slot. He made others during this stretch, he was extremely prolific – but these are the three he will be remembered for. Dorval plays the widowed single mother in Mommy – a sort of drama epic (running just under 140 minutes) – and that edges out the other two very strong options for the top slot.


it is a crowded subgenre, but it does feel like Mommy (2014) is one of the all-time great coming of age films


best performance:   Mommy yet again here in this category. Dorval plays Diane ‘Die’ Després opposite Antoine Olivier Pilon’s Steve O’Connor Després. Their relationship is certainly a battlefield for much of the film. Dorval does not have a significant role in Laurence Anyways, but I Killed My Mother is another formidable challenger for this category. This is Dolan’s (and Dorval’s) breakthrough film and once again Dorval plays a mother (Chantale Lemmingwith) with a wild teen – this time opposite Dolan himself who acts out the son part – he plays Hubert Minel.



stylistic innovations/traits:   With central roles in both I Killed My Mother and Mommy, Dorval immediately goes down on the short list of cinema’s all-time great mothers. Dorval was born in 1960 and has roughly 30 films under belt total. Dorval worked in television in her native Quebec. Dorval hooking up with Dolan is obviously the reason for her being here on this list at all. Their connection is fascinating as she is nearly thirty (30) years his senior – perfect age for that mother role. But Dolan’s mothers are not in the background or small roles. Dolan and Dorval’s connection in the late 2000s and early 2010s yielded three films that rank on the list of the best films of the 21st century. And Dorval is the only actor in the Dolan stable of players that is a main cog in two of his big three films. Sadly, it does look like Dolan’s light as a genius has dimmed – so it seems unlikely Dorval will survive another update of this list five years from now.


Dorval had been working since the early 1990s, but it was not until she connected with the twenty (20) year old Xavier Dolan for I Killed My Mother that her archiveable resume began.



directors worked with:  Xavier Dolan (4)


Dorval as Désirée in Heartbeats (2010)


top five performances:

  1. Mommy
  2. I Killed My Mother
  3. Heartbeats
  4. Laurence Anyways


archiveable films

2009- I Killed My Mother
2010- Heartbeats
2012- Laurence Anyways
2014- Mommy