Many would agree that Xavier Dolan’s “Mommy” is a masterpiece, and part of the movie’s exhilarating impact relies heavily on its aspect ratio. For much of the film’s runtime, Dolan presents the movie in a 1:1 square, increasing the claustrophobia around his main character and visually representing his inner self-containment. At vital moments in the movie, however, Dolan expands the frame to a full and expansive 1.85:1, particularly during a moment of life-changing happiness and a startling flash-forward to a possible bright future.
The aspect ratio changes are essential to the experience of “Mommy,” which makes Netflix UK’s decision to edit the movie’s ratio changes all the more baffling. Unsurprisingly, the one person most devastated by this change is Dolan himself, who took to Twitter earlier today to post an open letter lashing out at the company’s decision. The letter suggests that it was the streaming platform itself that made the aspect ratio changes, though more information is bound to come out now that the letter is circulating.
“Who has bestowed on you the right to revise my choices,” he writes, “and how competently have you pondered the impact of such decisions on my film and the public?…You did not direct this movie. You did not write this movie. You did not produce this movie. So can anyone or anything expect me warrant the liberty you took upon my work? No.”
Read the full letter below.