Son of the Bride
- Juan José Campanella
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I get tears in my eyes just thinking about El Hijo de la Novia. Tears of laughter, of poignancy, of sadness, but mostly, happily, the first and second. Fernando Castets and director Campanella crafted a story of modern times and immortal values, and how it’s never late to catch up with life. The way it’s all set up is amazing: Rafael can’t be a more unsympathetic (though frankly funny) character at first, yet the story gives him a chance to redeem himself and it’s truly outstanding how that’s handled. After all is said and done, the film makes the viewer reflect on their own cynicism and the missed opportunities that continuously pass and the wonderful people that are around whom we sometimes don’t notice or appreciate.
If there’s anything in this movie, that’s a heart, and every player is quite connected to the story and the feelings of the characters they play. There’s one particular scene which is especially affecting, the one in which Nino (Alterio) remembers his days in the restaurant back when he and his wife ran it, and how she was absolutely enchanting to him and every customer and employee. The contrast has Rafael giving a speech to a priest about the hypocrisy of the church which is at once hilarious and powerful. Another scene has him reading a poem his daughter wrote and not being able to contain himself, though she doesn’t understand why. And of course the final sequence, which I won’t spoil, that has a lot of pleasures, including an old memory of Norma’s (Aleandro) which almost makes Juan Carlos (Blanco) cry.
I guess what I liked most from this film is its mixed humor. It takes itself seriously but not exceedingly, so it allows the viewer to laugh while he or she digests the intense drama. I’ve seen a lot of this in modern cinema from Spain and Latin America and it’s so wonderful. That’s something Hollywood mostly lacks, and I guess the reason is this kind of filmmaking is more adventurous and not as calculated. Who knows. Hollywood has its countless assets, but I find this very refreshing.
Kudos to Ángel Illarramendi for his wonderful music score, and to everyone else involved in the making of this magnificent film. Incidentally, the two elderly stars appeared together in the classic The Official Story. And though both threaten to steal this show, they’re fought furiously by supporting player Blanco and of course star Darín, who keeps surprising me.
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