How much love is too much? This is the question at the heart of Kevin Bacon’s harrowing, infinitely watchable drama, based on Victoria Redel’s 2001 novel about a mother’s destructive passion for her son. Emily Stoll (Sedgwick), played in gauzy flashbacks by Sosie Bacon (Bacon and Sedgwick’s real-life daughter), is the product of parents (Bacon, Tomei) whose exclusionary love for each other made her a third wheel. She grows up to become a loony mom, determined to create a world of two with her precious son, Paul (an exceptional Kay), whom, to his growing dismay, she calls Loverboy, and, to ours, occasionally kisses on the mouth.
But Emily is neither entirely monstrous nor unsympathetic. That her world revolves around her son isn’t a bad thing in the beginning. It’s only when Paul increases his demands to lead a normal life, involving school and other kids, that her panicky efforts to outrun the outside world turn toxic. Filled with visual tricks—evocative lighting, slo-mo, clever cutting—and a lively if flashy score by Michael Bacon (the director’s brother), the film is fascinating in its probing of primal, haunting material, even when leaving a number of questions unanswered. (Opens Fri; Angelika.)—Alison Rosen