Director Julia Solomonoff’s more easily assimilates to America than her characters, predictably conveying ‘80s-era Texas using mundane, head-on angles to match the ridiculous lifestyle of shoulder pads and poofy couches. In style and subtext, there seems to be a little bit of Sweetie in this story of two sisters who reunite in the deepest heart of Reagan country in 1984 for the first time in nine years, except Solomonoff’s vision does not deconstruct or subvert narrative conventions. Elena (Valerie Bertucelli), living in exile in Spain, visits her sister Natalia (Ingrid Rubio) in Walnut Creek, where the skeletons in their closet begin to rattle after a page is ripped from one their deceased father’s manuscripts, which may explain why Elena’s militant boyfriend disappeared many years ago. Solomonoff doesn’t strike very interesting contrasts between past and present, but her actresses certainly do: Rubio and Bertucelli express how resentment eats away at their characters’ sisterhood so richly that the many flashbacks to Argentina, shot uninterestingly in gritty hand-held gestures, seem almost unnecessary. Better than these soap-operatic flashbacks, familiar slogs through Cautiva terrain, are the story’s playful, unpretentious observations of culture-clash and assimilation: like Elena selling her political agenda at a dinner party in her honor and Natalia’s nervous attempts to speak English to her son’s teacher, an indiscretion the sisters laugh off but one that tellingly embarrasses little Tomas (Milton De La Canal). These fine actresses risk a natural form of human messiness that Solomonoff’s obsessively neat storytelling does not.
- Cinema Tropical
- 100 min
- Julia Solomonoff
- Julia Solomonoff
- Valerie Bertucelli, Ingrid Rubio, Adrián Navarro, Nicolas Pauls, Milton De La Canal, Horacio Peña, Mónica Galán, Eusebio Poncela
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