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TIFF: The Quietude

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival

Martina Gusman (Carancho) and Oscar nominee Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) are exceedingly well cast as loving sisters reunited when their wealthy father has a stroke in this sexy family melodrama from Argentina. The sisters are tight despite years of separation but they have dramatically different relationships with their mother (a commanding turn from Graciela Borges) who clearly favors one and disdains the other. Despite the capable and supremely sexy cast (Edgar Ramirez and Joaquín Furriel are the male love interests for the sisters... and, well, who wouldn't be interested?) and a few witty visual moments and firecracker scenes, the movie is a mixed bag. The character arcs don't fully land given the erratic quality of the screenplay.

And I'm not one to normally harp on "the male gaze," a triggering complaint now so frequently overused it's beginning to lose  meaning, but here we have a textbook example...

The movie's prologue of sorts ends with a lovely shot of the sisters opening the gate to their family estate "La Quietud" but almost immediately once the characters are gathered for the plot to kick into high gear the sisters are reduced to giggling, horny, nearly incestuous male fantasy as they lounge in bed together in their underwear in a truly strange sequence.

Thankfully The Quietude improves from there... mostly. Though it ends visually the way it began (with the sisters at the gate) it can't really come full circle since it's gone so frequently off the rails. Director Pablo Trapero's most recent previous picture was the popular drama The Clan (an Oscar submission in 2015) and this is quite an odd follow-up to that major success. The former film showed a comfort and electric confidence with hostile father/son drama and the true crime genre. He's less comfortable telling this fictional florid story about wealthy unhappy women who are all lying to each other and themselves about the men in their lives (husbands, lawyers, and fathers) and the secrets they've been hiding which threaten their futures.

To put it more precisely, Trapero attacks the material with the same (now misplaced) confidence but it leads to a decidedly less successful movie. 

Martina Gusman (the director's wife and frequent star) in a hot scene with Edgar Ramirez

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Reader Comments (2)

I was rooting for this movie -such a sexy cast- but all the critics agree it doesn't quite work. I'll watch it anyway even just for Graciela Borges.

September 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Man, by the trailer alone you could tell this movie was going to suck. There's so many gems from Argentina that don't even get the chance to screen outside some selected theaters it's infuriating something like this got the chance to even be at a single theater.

September 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

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