I haven’t the slightest idea how long or short this review will be. Mostly my initial impressions take up a healthy chunk of my reviews. But this is a tad different. I literally had no idea that this movie even existed before it was released in my local cinema. I have since not seen a single trailer or frame of the film. I have no idea why either. I had no idea what kind of movie I was in for. Yeah, I didn’t even know what genre this movie was. That’s how fresh I went into this.
Also, the reason why this review may be pretty short is because as I’m not familiar with many foreign films, I won’t be able to put down any names from either cast and crew as I won’t be familiar with anyone’s work. It sucks being uncultured swine. So… here we go.
This is my honest opinion of: UN PADRE NO TAN PADRE
Don Servando Villegas (Héctor Bonilla) is about as grumpy as an old man can be. He lives in a retirement home and is absolutely awful to the others and to the help. One day, he takes it too far and beats an orderly with his cane. He is allowed to stay only if he apologizes, to which he refuses, promptly kicking Don Servando out. He reaches out to his youngest son, Francisco (Benny Ibarra), who lives in what Don Servando describes as, a hippie home, which is owned by Francisco’s girlfriend, Alma (Jacqueline Bracamontes). Fran brings his father to his home and introduces his son, and the many occupants of the home, none of which he takes to and begins to make life for everyone much harder. But the longer he stays there, he soon learns that there’s more to them than the obvious and soon learns to appreciate their chosen lifestyles.
Wow. I didn’t expect this movie to be anything good, but wow. I almost don’t know what to say about it. But since I can’t just end it on that note, I’m going to try. I’m pretty sure this movie’s been done before, probably in a thousand better films, but until I think of them or see them, this is kind of a new one for me.
Don Servando is written to be pretty unlikable at first, almost perfectly capturing what an old curmudgeon, self-entitled jerk-off is. Although I don’t suspect that any of them would go so far as to beat someone with a cane for following the rules of their own establishment, it still shows just how far off the deep end the man really is. This is only slightly explained in his flashback scene when the audience is shown that he once had a grand total of five children, and a wife. The wife dies at a young age, however, which is a significant blow to the family because while Don Servando is and was a very strict and apathetic man, his wife was very loving and nurturing. The eldest children got married as soon as they could when they grew up, leaving the youngest son, Francisco, alone with their father. He spends most of the movie being very judgmental, clearly in a world that he no longer recognizes, living among homosexual couples, foreigners, his own son not married to his girlfriend, and recreational pot smokers, all of which he shows little patience for. But as the story progresses, there is an arch to his character that shows how he misunderstands these people and learns to not just accept them, but understand, even care for them.
While most of the supporting characters are kind of bland, not so surprising that a few will get short-changed considering how big the cast is, but there’s a few that stand out for me. Homero (Octavio Anza) is the pot smoker, but he’s got this infectious happy-go-lucky personality that makes him so lovable. At first glance, he’s just another pothead, but as the story progresses, you see this really big heart that he has and, while I won’t give anything away here, the ultimate tragedy of his character. By far one of the most lovable supports in the entire flick. I also really like Rene (Sergio Mayer Mori), and his interactions with his father Francisco. Here’s a kid who is a ridiculously talented artist and his father is very supportive of him. However, there is this wonderfully built-up conflict between them. While Francisco wants him to be free to develop on his own terms, but when he is presented the opportunity to go to college, his father immediately shoots down the idea thinking that they will take away his talent and mold him into something they want, as opposed to who he wants to be. But you see that Rene kind of wants to go and hone his craft, which makes for some pretty compelling drama.
This movie has a little bit of everything. Comedy, drama, and a whole lot of heart that got me choked up once or twice. Are most of the characters stock? Sure. Is the story anything unique? Not really, no. But if you like stories about different generations finding common ground and learning to compromise, then it’s not a bad movie to check out. If you’re looking for something fresh and original, then I might not recommend it. I may not see myself revisiting this movie, but I liked it.
My honest rating for UN PADRE NO TAN PADRE: 4/5