Eye For Film >> Movies >> Buena Vida Delivery (2003) Film Review
Buena Vida Delivery
Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown
His family having emigrated, young Hernan is left with a large house to himself. Getting petrol for his scooter, he strikes up a conversation with the attendant, Patricia/Pato, and asks her out on a date where he casually mentions having a room available. Pato seems uninterested, then turns up and decides to rent it. Over time the pair move from being housemates to lovers, as the young woman responds to Hernan's over-enthusiastic and too-obvious overtures. One day, he arrives home to find Pato's family there, the shock being amplified by the fact that she has a young daughter, Lili.
Unsure how to respond, Hernan assures Elvira and Venancio that it's no problem. In turn they're apologetic and ensure him it's only for a short while, until they get more permanent accommodation sorted out.
Of course, if this were so we'd have a different movie on our hands. No one has the money Pato's parents need and so they decide the logical solution is to set up their churro making equipment in the front room. Once their pastry distribution business gets going the money will surely start rolling in and all will be well...
Making black comedy out of national economic disaster, the title of this Argentinean drama can only be understood as deeply ironic. No one is being delivered a particularly good life. Rather, everyone is struggling to get by, doing what they feel is best for them and theirs.
Thus, the characters may be flawed, but only in entirely credible, never overstated ways. Hernan himself is lazy, naive and - one might venture - initially set up as being somewhat deserving of his comeuppance for taking advantage of his position vis-a-vis Pato.
For her part, Pato is uncertain how to care for Lili and wary of her mother's over-influence on the girl, who does not know which woman to call mother. Nor are Elvira and Venancio exactly dangerous home invaders, more harmless types equipped with cunning and an unshakeable belief that all that's needed is for everyone to simply pull together and have faith.
Straightforward, unflashy direction - one suddenly notices the previous absence of music when a few ominous chords signal the beginning of act three, for instance - is counterbalanced by well-observed and nuanced performances and a satisfactorily bittersweet resolution.
If Buena Vida Delivery probably won't put filmmaker Leonardo Di Cesare up there with the likes of Walter Salles and Gonzales Innaritu at the forefront of current Latin American cinema, it's a pleasing enough way to spend 90 minutes.Reviewed on: 19 Aug 2004