Eye For Film >> Movies >> Son Of The Bride (2001) Film Review
Son Of The Bride
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
If it is natural to love, it is human to fail.
Juan Jose Campanella's film ranges across the emotional divide, cutting through the soft tissue of wishfulfilment and sprinkling sentimentality with the diamond dust of conviction. It celebrates the memory of a lost perfection, without resorting to flashbacks - Hollywood directors, please note - and hitting the mid-life crisis hard.
Rafael (Ricardo Darin) was the naughtiest boy on the block, dressing as Zorro and taking on the world with his sturdy catapult, a hero for his age. He grew up with the mantle of success, already washed and pressed, waiting for him, but dropped out of law school, much to his mother's chagrin, tried a number of jobs that didn't come to anything, returning finally to the family business, his parents' restaurant in Buenos Aires.
He becomes a workaholic and chain smoker. His marriage collapses and he takes up with Naty (Natalia Verbeke), a girl young enough to be his daughter. Despite Argentina's recession, the restaurant thrives, thanks to his energy and drive, but at what a cost? Meanwhile, his mother (Norma Aleandro) is in a home with Alzheimer's and his father (Hector Alterio) talks of marrying her again in a proper church ceremony.
After Rafael's heart attack, things change. He takes a long look at life and attempts to make amends. It is not easy. Damage limitation goes only so far. His selfishness and single-minded pursuit "to be someone" has left casualties along the way. He decides to sell up and help his father with the dream of formalising a 44-year relationship with a woman who doesn't know who she is any more.
Campanella's strength lies in his honest, non-judgemental approach to the failure of realising a potential that may well have been illusory, because the sky is too far and reaching for it a folie de grandeur.
Life, as Rafael's father knows, is like fire. The ashes remain warm throughout the night, but flames blaze briefly and are soon forgotten.Reviewed on: 22 May 2003