Who Would You Take to a Deserted Island? (2019) – Summary, Review (with Spoilers)

¿A quién te llevarías a una isla desierta?

Who Would You Take to a Deserted Island (2019) - Title Card in Spanish.
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While you can see each actor giving it their all, there is a bit of a disconnect which may  not allow you to get as emotional as they get.


Director(s) Jota Linares
Screenplay By Paco Anaya, Jota Linares
Date Released 4/12/2019
Genre(s) Drama, Romance
Good If You Like Coming of Age Stories

Over The Top Drama

Isn’t For You If You Like A Thorough Buildout Of Dynamics Before Things, Inevitably, Fall Apart
Noted Cast
Eze Pol Monen
Marcos Jaime Lorente
Celeste Andrea Ros
Marta Maria Pedraza
Maggie Beatriz Arjona

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Plot Summary

It’s the final days of Eze, Marcos, Celeste, and Marta sharing the same living space in Madrid. With that comes a bit of fear for the future, for each one is taking a leap firmly into adulthood. Marcos is going to begin his work as a doctor, Marta to follow him and become a teacher, Celeste plans to figure things out, and Eze will be off to London to learn film. Yet, before they wrap up this chapter of their lives, it is believed there needs to be a solid, thoroughly made, period. Which, thanks to the magic of alcohol and the truth, everyone ends that chapter of their life in tears, but at least knowing what was the truth.

 

Highlights

The Performances

Marcos (Jaime Lorente) and Marta (Maria Pedraza) naked in bed together.
Marcos (Jaime Lorente) and Marta (Maria Pedraza)

Despite what will be said below, there is a certain weight which comes from watching each character. Be it because I’m close to their age, witnessing a similar chapter end in my life, or with watching the end of anyone’s youth die, you cannot help but feel sorrow. Though, even separating some form of personal connection, it’s undeniable they left it all on the set. Tears of frustration, disappointment, or which flow from rejection don’t seem to be from drops placed in eyes but being lost in the scene.

I’d even say for those who decided to watch because you were fans of Elite actors Jaime Lorente and Maria Pedraza, you’ll get lost in their performances and not think of their past role. That’s how good they are. Not to downplay Pol Monen and Andrea Ros. Despite them not having the Netflix fame to help drive eyes to their names, their stories aren’t forgotten.

Breaking things down, Celeste and Eze represent both the validation many seek and the rejection you hope avoids you in life. With them being at the extremes, they balance out Marta and Marcos who represent what many may find to be their ideal scenario. So in taking in each actor’s character, that causes a whirl in your mind and leaves you with a litany of “What Ifs?” and the question of which characters life matches yours?

Are you like Eze who seemingly has his professional life on track but his personal life is a mess? Maybe you are like Celeste, and you don’t have much but some lingering hope that could be cut with a child’s pair of scissors? How about Marta? You think you found the love of your life, are willing to follow him where he goes, but it means reimagining your true dreams so that the man of your dreams remains in your reality? Then, when it comes to Marcos? Oh, so comes the question of whether your dream is reality or you stepped into a dream that you know can slowly become a nightmare. For while, on the outside, it seems you have it all, in truth, you barely got a damn thing, and you know it. Alongside someone else who finds you to be the source of their nightmares.

On The Fence

With Coming Into Things At The End, Maybe That Causes A Disconnect

Eze (Pol Monen) dealing with what was said to him.
Eze (Pol Monen)

For reasons I can’t father, despite recognizing all the actors were conveying, the story feeling personal, I couldn’t get into it. Which was a weird feeling, recognizing the themes, the work put into the performances but ultimately feeling a wall up. Which could just be me not wanting to face certain truths, thinking things got way overdramatic in the last half hour to forty-five minutes, or us meeting these characters towards the end of that chapter.

Which is what I think it is. While we are clued into how Marta and Marcos met, everyone else in that apartment, their connections, are more talked about than felt. So as much as you see crying, yelling, glass breaking, and more, because you are like their downstairs neighbor, Maggie, you only are aware of the big moments. Moments that, since you don’t get to see the chemistry, understand the friendships, and also how some people are just tolerated, it makes those big moments sudden.

Making it ultimately feel like the story lacked the foundation to drop the weight it did so the story crashes underneath everyone dropping their cross they bore.

Overall: Mixed (Divisive)

Available on Netflix

Celeste (Andrea Ros) during the fight in the apartment.
Celeste (Andrea Ros)

The main issue with Who Would You Take to a Deserted Island? (¿A quién te llevarías a una isla desierta?) is that it is too much, too soon, and thus you don’t get to appreciate and experience the build. All you get is this drama filled with twists, turns, and being left like you missed something. That maybe there were hints to what was revealed, but you didn’t notice them because someone’s charm seduced you. Perhaps, in reflecting on your own life, something that you feel more invested in than the meek stories of the characters, you got distracted. Thus making the blow up towards the end feel sudden and more about shock than something which was a long time coming?

Hence the mixed label. While you recognize the work put into the performances, there is just something missing there to command your attention enough to make the climax truly mean something. That is, rather than a slight feeling of shock as you get a handful of things pointed out to you that, if the story engaged you more, would have made the build to the end far more jaw-dropping.

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