AFI LAFF: You’re Killing Me Susana (2016) starring Gael Garcia Bernal

This movie ((a blend of comedy, romance, and drama) is part of AFI’s Latin American Film Festival (Silver Spring, MD); it is in Spanish and English w/ English subtitles. The star is ageless hottie (he’s 39 now- whoa) Gael Garcia Bernal (GGB). If you have Netflix, you can see him in Mozart of the Jungle (highly recommended by friends, both online and offline). 

After working on his soap opera, Eligio (GGB) comes home late to party at his apartment w/ some buddies. He discovers that his wife, Susana (Veronica Echegui), has left him w/o a word or note. Clueless as to why she left, he goes on a quest to find her, as he loves her deeply. Eligio travels from Mexico City to an university town in Iowa (actual shooting location: Canada) where Susana is attending a conference of international writers. Susana may have moved on (for good this time); she is no longer willing to accept Eligio’s behavior (incl. cheating w/ other women). She has become involved w/ a Polish poet who is silent, imposing, and very tall (esp. in comparison to Eligio). Eligio eventually changes his macho attitude and realizes that he can’t always get by on charm! 

It just doesn’t know what it is. The character arc is completely absent; it has an uneven tone; the laughs are cheap and spread too far between each other… It sort of glosses over the subjects which the movie promised to tackle in zero-effective way. The way this movie was marketed has nothing to do with the movie at all, and created expectations that, probably, ruined the whole experience for me (which is becoming a common problem with movies nowadays). 

-A female viewer from Mexico

The procedures of the TSA, being in a foreign land (incl. driving in a snowy blizzard), and the culture/people of rural America add bits of humor and danger to the story. However, it’s a (mostly) awkward movie. I learned that it was based on a novel when the credits rolled; maybe the filmmakers should’ve let the author have input. The rural folks w/ a love of guns and beer come off as hokey. There is an (obvious) scene where the cute blonde American (w/ a crush on Eligio) proves to be a bit of a stereotype, too. I wondered why Susana didn’t get many lines of dialogue; she should’ve had more to say/do. This is another example of a movie that can’t rely on just one actor (albeit a big name w/ a lot of talent) to carry the story! 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s