Saturday, February 11, 2023

Manuela (2023) Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2023


Manuela is struggling to find a job to support herself and family back home in Argentina. She happens upon a rich single mother and becomes the child's nanny. As time goes on Manuela becomes more like Almas mother and has to make a life altering decision.

This is a beautifully acted film. Barbara Lombardo is wonderful as Manuela. Alma Forago will steal your heart as the little girl who is just a little girl but on camera. The interplay makes you think that the pair have been friends forever. The pair make it seem as though we are eavesdropping instead of being told a story.

As good as the performances are I'm not certain what I think of the film. The key is the event which pushes the film toward it's end. Something happens and Manuela makes a decision and the film ends. I have zero problem with what happens, rather how it's handled left me dissatisfied.  We spent all this leisurely time  with these characters and then we race to to the end. When the end credits rolled all I could think was, that's it?

I felt as though director Clara Mullen got to the conclusion of her story, which is perfect, but didn't know how to end the film.

Worth a look for everything up to the odd run out to the credits.

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