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Director Janis Nords mentioned that he looked at a thousand school kids to find the right boy for the part, and Kristofers Konovalovs is perfect in the role.With his sweet and youthful face, the danger around him is apparent, especially when he roams the city streets at night or is inspected in a police lineup.Raimonds is terrified of his mother and the beating she will most certainly give him for these infractions.So while he’s resourceful and clever at getting out of these jams, it turns out these quick fixes only lead to more, and worse problems than he was originally faced with.What works about the sequencing of events in “Mother, I Love You,” as Raimonds finds himself entwined in a petty theft investigation, is that all of the decisions he makes, while completely the wrong decision, make perfect sense in the mind of a young boy who is desperate to avoid punishment.
Raimonds (Kristofers Konovalovs) is a young boy living with his single obstetrician mother (Vita Varpina) in Riga., but it's a testament to the success of this Latvian drama that it never feels like just another Truffaut-inspired coming-of-ager.With an excellent nuanced performance by fresh-faced newcomer Kristofers Konovalovs at its core, the tale of a wayward 12-year-old's painful transition toward maturity treads familiar turf with disarming confidence.While he’s often impassive and expressionless, and this demonstrates his ability to get away with what he does, at those moments of fear and desperation we are truly there with him, fully understanding of the situation and his emotions within it.
He’s naturalistic and at ease just being a kid in front of the camera, but he gives a very detailed and emotionally layered performance.
The most resonant visuals here concern Konovalovs' face, the boy's saturnine features breaking into ready smiles when he's with kids his own age, but more often clouding into seriousness when he's dealing with -- and, for the most part, duplicitously manipulating -- grownups.