Son of the Bride (2001)

 

brideJust from reading the small blurp on the back of the DVD box, I had the impression that this was one of those “disease of the week Hallmark films.” The disease in this particular film was Alzheimer’s. The title of the film, Son of the Bride combined with the description of the plot, led me to believe that the film was about a man whose parents want to remarry–the plot complication was that the mother had Alzheimer’s. After watching and enjoying Nine Queens, I decided to give Son of the Bride a try–both films are from Argentina and both star Ricardo Darin.

Son of the Bride was a wonderful film, and the parents who want to remarry in spite of the Alzheimer problem is a sub-plot within the much larger, richer theme of the film. The subject of Alzheimer’s is handled with grace and dignity, and this film was not a voyeuristic tear jerker but rather a warm, funny intelligent view of how complicated life can become, and how solutions can be simpler than we first imagine.

Rafael (Ricardo Darin) is a restauranteur in Argentinia. He enjoys running the Belvedere restaurant is spite of the fact that owning the restaurant is extremely stressful and fraught with problems. Rafael seems to thrive under all the stress of juggling suppliers, employees and bills. He is good at his job–in fact, the Belvedere is the only thing that Rafael is proud of. Unfortunately, his relationships have suffered as a consequence of devoting himself to the restaurant. He’s divorced (and wishes he was a widower), hasn’t visited his mother in the nursing home for over a year (she has Alzheimer’s), takes his devoted girlfriend for granted, and has little time for his daughter. Everyone around Rafael can see that his relationships are problematic–everyone except Rafael, of course, who thinks things are fine as they are–and then a crisis occurs which forces Rafael to examine his relationships differently….

Ricardo Darin is simply a wonderful actor. Eduardo Blanco plays his friend, Juan Carlos–a man who has suffered through a crisis of his own and helps Rafael to see the possibilities of change. Blanco was great fun to watch. He really reminds me of Roberto Benigni. Rafael’s ex-wife was a great character too, and their scenes between Rafael and his ex wife are particularly good. From director Juan Jose Campanella

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