Warning: Spoilers. Duh.
When most homosexuality-themed movies would milk from the struggles of a homosexual to gain acceptance from family and society, here comes a film that departs from the norm. Revert the situation: a man finally coming to terms with his real sexuality, convincing his mother, and perhaps his family, that he is surprisingly a heterosexual.
Me, Myself and Mum (Les Garcons et GuiIlaume, a Table! – the original title, but not the direct translation) is a French comedy film whose story is based on the solo stage show by Guillaume Gallienne, the main actor and director of the film. The film is said to be Guillaume’s autobiography, and via his monologue, as if reliving his theater performances, he transports his viewers along his journey to self-discovery.
Growing up, Guillaume bears the penchant for pleasing his upper middle class bred mother, who, with such definiteness, utters at every meal, “Les garcons et Guillaume, a table!” which simply translates to “Boys and Guillaume, to the table!” Consequently this seeps into his perception that his mother sees him differently from his brothers. That perhaps to her he is a girl. And this pleases her. And all is well for him.
Having this in mind, Guillaume as a youngster strives to delight his mother by being the daughter she never had. And just like the tendency of any daughter, Guillaume piously studies his mother’s nuances, imitating her to the best he can. As a result, in separate instances, just by only hearing Guillaume speak, his grandmother would mistake him for her daughter and his father his wife.
With such generosity, coupled with his seemingly theatrical but nevertheless sincere and palpable execution of his own confused and lowly-esteemed younger self, Guillaume shares his embarrassing moments from his taunting stay in an all-male boarding school, his funny encounters in learning Spanish and dancing sevillanas in Spain, his first heartbreak when he attended an English school, the unsuccessful forays in gay clubs for a sexual experience, the awkward screening for the military service for which he is assessed unfit, the confronting psychotherapy sessions, and his oxymoronic painful spa relaxation – all in which he generously deprecates himself for the marriage of wit and humor. And in this, he is successful.
The story however takes a turning point when at a friend’s dinner party Guillaume is swoon over by Amandine to whom he later gets engaged. He discusses this to his mother and implies that he is not a homosexual and she and the rest of the family should accept this. But his mother is in denial simply because – which Guillaume realizes– she is afraid of losing his son to another woman. That all along, this has been the reason why his mother would distinguish him from his brothers to be the daughter she never had.
The movie offers a different perspective on gender confusion, if that makes sense. The idea of a man initially seen as a homosexual and who has now accepted his heterosexuality – because that’s what he really is – and is now yearning for his family to do the same is somewhat a novelty. This is, as the cliché goes, a breath of fresh air. And that alone is an enough reason for anyone to view this film.
More than that, Me, Myself and Mum has a heart. And its heart is Guillame himself, who after realizing what he really is does not blame his mother or anyone for his having to go through the trauma and complications of gender confusion. There is no self-pity. He does not succumb to anger but instead appreciates his mother for being instrumental to his profound understanding of women – one of whom he marries.
It is also great that Guillaume decides to play the character of his mother for most part of the film and later have another actor play the role after he realizes he is not a homosexual. This can be considered a technique to emphasize the transition of the main character’s perception of himself imitating his mother to his real persona – the heterosexual Guillaume. Clever.
Despite all this, the film lacks a little more exposition of Guillaume’s discovery of his heterosexuality. That as soon as he sees Amandine and is struck by her presence, the film cuts to the pivotal scene where Guillaume confronts his mother of his heterosexuality without revealing much of the journey he goes through before reaching the point where he exclaims to himself, “Yes, I am a straight. I have been wrong. Mother has been wrong. They are wrong all along.”
Nevertheless, for all the good things mentioned above, Me, Myself, and Mum is a must-see. Moreover, it is a French comedy – which may be too much of generalizing, but c’mon? Who doesn’t like French comedies? Watch it.