Review of 'Mexican Dream': A refreshing take on starting life anew

A woman trying to start family life afresh finds herself dwelling on thoughts of her previous home.

Jun 1, 2024 - 16:41
Jun 1, 2024 - 16:44
Review of 'Mexican Dream': A refreshing take on starting life anew

Mexican Dream: A refreshing take on starting life anew

Cast: Maria Magdalena Reyes, Edgar Lozano, Juan Bosco Guzman, Eloisa Maya, Guadalupe Reyes, Fatima Godoy

Critic’s Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Director: Laura Plancarte

Duration: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Genre: Drama, Docu-drama

Language: Spanish (with English subtitles)

Release: 2023

What’s it about?

A woman trying to start family life afresh finds herself dwelling on thoughts her previous home.

Review:

Can a broken home ever be rebuilt?  Can a bitter and estranged family patch up and reunite? Can a new domicile, partner and pregnancy take the place of an earlier residence, spouse and progeny? Is love and togetherness the only thing of true value in one’s life? These questions constitute the premise of this fairly interesting and occasionally moving Mexican film. This Spanish-language flick follows a few weeks of upheaval in the life of its central character Malena, who seems incapable of breaking free from her turbulent past even as she makes some dramatic changes.

This woman (Maria Magdalena Reyes) who is in her mid to late 30s, visits a gynaecologist with questions about her eligibility to conceive. Oddly enough, she is already a mother of three teenage children, but had left them in the custody of their father from whom she is divorced.  Now, Malena wants to experience parenthood again with her new partner Edgar (Edgar Lozano), who is just as eager. The young man who comes from a troubled family himself has been assisting Malena in building a new house while she also nurtures hopes of starting a business of her own.

Goaded by a desire to experience motherhood anew, Malena surrounds herself with women who are themselves determined to give birth but who are struggling in the quest. Some are tempted to resort to IVF while others toy with superstitious "remedies". Meanwhile, the conflicted Malena has been scraping by from working as cook and janitor at an upscale facility in Mexico City, relying on a friend’s help to commute between there and her impoverished hometown. At the same time, she is quite the party quirk and overdoes regular social outings.

Still Malena can’t seem to shrug off a certain attachment to her three children. She finds herself constantly checking her mobile phone for messages and updates from them. Malena even occasionally loiters outside their schools in hopes of meeting them. One begins to ask: was she the victim or the perpetrator behind the split family? After all, it seems that each of her children view her differently - ranging from sincere affection to absolute abhorrence. Will Malena’s attempts to reconnect with her Flesh and Blood cause her to reassess her life? 

The film presents and explores an intriguing duality of the reconstruction of a physical and a figurative home. Director and co-writer Laura Plancarte cleverly juxtaposes voice and image to convey the emotional essence of each scene. But the varied cinematography from cinema-verite captures, still long shots and recurring close-ups can be a little disconcerting, while the deluge of supporting characters can get a tad hard to follow. However, Reyes does a pretty good job in the lead at displaying nuances of joy, pensiveness and melancholy. Does the film end with Malena realising the Mexican Dream? Regardless, the audience might well agree that the experience was “worth it”.

Ronak Kotecha Senior Journalist and seasoned content creator with 18-years-experience at channels like Times Now, NewsX, Zoom and Radio City. Now, Rotten Tomatoes accredited global critic for the Times of India and BBC India Correspondent in Dubai. Talk show host at Talk100.3, tune in weekdays at 11 am on talk1003.ae