April 23, 2024

Familia 2023 Movie Review

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Familia 2023 Movie Review

A pensive paterfamilias turns his gaze to the living room of a house that has lasted for generations. His daughters and only son have not lived there for a long time, but tomorrow the entire family will be together again. Only the father knows that he will have to sharpen the tension during the shared meal. What follows is a verbal jousting of disbelief, disappointment and reproach, which ironically only manages to convince when Familia has actually already passed its peak.

The drama of Familia is divided into three clear parts. Already in the opening scene it becomes clear that father Leo has something on his mind, and has not let his three daughters return to the Mexican countryside without reason. His charged message is literally presented in an extensive meal scene, after which Rebeca, Julia and Mariana each need reflection and contemplation in their own way. Leo’s new partner Clara also appears to be unaware; the mother of his children died in an accident years ago.

The film takes place almost entirely in a beautiful orchard (part of the tourist Guadulupe Valley), which, in combination with the house, forms a cozy family setting. If grandson Alan didn’t check his phone so often, you could easily imagine yourself going back in time, but that scenario has already been overtaken by the present. Leo’s daughters have a striking contrast in common: although all three value the house, the orchard and the memories that come with it, they lead an urban and always busy life.

In that context, it is all the more remarkable that the emotional news from the head of the family turns the situation upside down during the meal scene. The daughters’ personal accusations towards their father are not uncommon in the long drawn-out table discussion, while Leo is in fact the victim of his own story. One of the daughters calls the bearer of the bad news a “charming, hypocritical wolf”, and it is indeed not difficult to recognize the cracks in his personality while watching.

Unfortunately, the confrontation between father and daughters is set up in such a way that it distracts from what this is ultimately about: the subcutaneous memories and emotions that mean that this place still affects Rebeca, Julia and Mariana. The film makes these feelings palpable at times, but certainly in the first half hour it still borders too much on soap-like situations. The drama is at its strongest when the biggest objections are spoken out loud, and the daughters share their heartache in a more subdued way. Unfortunately, Familia has already passed its peak in that part of the story.

Familia 2023 Movie Review