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A privileged child learns his maternal figure may possibly leave him, leading to a shift in his character.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
Young Oliver (Spencer List) has such a causal relationship with his birth mother Luna (Pilar Lopez de Ayala), that he more so treats her as a big sister than his mother. However, when it comes to Aida (Adriana Barraza), the housekeeper, things are a different story. With her, he fears disapproval, and with her becoming sick he finds his ability to be lovable, odd, Oliver a bit shaken. Leading to a story in which we see how one young man losing the ideal mother figure, for him, can rock his foundation to the core.
With there being no shortage of young white men in film, especially those dealing with grief, admittedly the story does seem boring in the beginning. However, List finds a way to wear you down and eventually feel for him. For while Luna isn’t a horrible mom, the worse you could say is she doesn’t know how to cook, you can see he years for a more traditional maternal figure vs. the cool mom. Leading to de Ayala getting to become lovable for you can see it does hurt her, this idea that her child is open to her because he doesn’t revere her. Something which could be seen when he was more worried about Aida learning he smoked than her.
Though I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the character Valerio (Eric Nelsen), who is one of Oliver’s friends. For while Oliver’s story doesn’t just focus on his relationship with Aida, I must admit I found it hard to care about his coming of age nonsense. However, his friendship with Valerio, or Val, was strong enough for Nelsen to be interesting. For with the movie having almost no real parental figures, in the biological sense, you are given this look into kids, of the privileged class mind you, searching for the meaning of love, sex, and a real connection, through each other. Making Oliver’s support of Val, who has one crazy ass brother, who pisses on him in the movie, touching in a way. Especially become Nelsen makes Val lovable enough to make you feel he could be the star of the film and you would have no issues with it.
When it comes to this film, perhaps the main issue is seeing past Oliver’s privilege. For with Oliver having friends, a girlfriend, girls attracted to him, money, and both a loving housekeeper and mother, it makes him going off the rails a bit over the housekeeper hard to fully connect with. Which I won’t say is due to List’s performance, but more so the difficulty of finding a reason to care about someone who has so much. For while it is established Aida is his maternal figure, it isn’t like Luna is portrayed as someone who goes out all the time and comes in during the middle of the night. No, she was made to seem like she doesn’t date enough and probably works more than anything. So while you get he is sad over Aida’s health, at the same time there isn’t a situation established which makes her seem like she was all he had.
Leading to perhaps another serious issue: The film doesn’t establish why Aida is seen as his mother, and Luna is seen, and treated, as more of a big sister. For while I get, after seeing enough movies and TV shows, that those who can afford housekeepers can grow attached to them, it doesn’t explain the film’s relationship dynamic. For while, at first, you almost believe Aida is Luna’s mother, once that idea is thrown away there is the possibility of not fully understanding what the cause of this family dynamic is?
Overall: TV Viewing
To me, the movie struggles with trying to be half coming of age drama, and the other half focusing on a young man dealing with the fact his maternal figure may die. For while you, to a point, understand his frustration, and actions, at the same time the plot seems so familiar that you have to push yourself to care. Add in lack of details over why he is so attached to Aida, despite how loving and close his relationship with his mom seems, and it leads you to want to question the situation vs. just feeling for a young man losing his maternal figure. Hence the TV Viewing label for it is a good film, but it doesn’t have any remarkable traits, or characters, which makes it stand out in the grand scheme of things.