Tuesday, May 1, 2007


I watched a film this weekend that was evocative, provocative, thoughtful, graceful, passionate, tender, frightening and thoroughly entertaining. It is perhaps the most layered film I have seen in several years. This may simply be an indication that I don’t actually get to see that many films. Nevertheless I find it worth mentioning here simply because it moved me as a profoundly human story. It is titled “Spanglish.”
I will spare you most of the recap of the plot and simply express a few random comments. If you wish to more fully understand my comments, then I recommend that you view the film yourself. It is well worth it.
I love the title. The central theme of the movie is the problem of people speaking different languages. English and Spanish are the metaphor here. Our emotional language is the real subject. The metaphor is beautifully used. I didn’t really get it until after the film was over. I’m usually pretty sharp about these things, but the filmmakers managed to keep it understated.
Tia Leone was painful to watch – in a good way. Her character is so over the top, yet she didn’t seem to me to be overacting. I actually believed that people could be that freaked out about everything. Chloris Leachman is outstanding playing Tia's mother, a role that could have been a throwaway. Yet she brings to it a liveliness, realness and empathy that really makes the film.
The film is a great reminder that most people move through life alone, where even those who are supposed to “get you” seem unable to really see or hear you. To be seen and heard is all most of us really want. The moments when this occurred are highlights of the film. Making noise is not to be confused with actually communicating, no matter how loudly or with what amount passion we seek to imbue our own personal noise.

There are a few most excellent quotes:

Evelyn Wright: Lately, your low self esteem is just good common sense.

Deborah Clasky: [upon first seeing Cristina] Flor! Look at this child! You could
make a fortune doing surrogate pregnancy!

Deborah Clasky: Mother, are you buzzed?
Evelyn Wright: No. I quit drinking weeks ago! No one noticed, but I guess that's a pretty good indicator that I conducted myself quite well when I was drunk.

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