Dona Herlinda and Her Son (1985) Poster

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7/10
Groundbreaking for its time
preppy-317 November 2015
Dona Herlinda wants one thing from her son--a grandchild. Problem is he's gay and in love with another man. Dona invites the man into her house...as long as her son gets married and gives her a child. She doesn't know he's gay...or does she? This was quietly released in the US in the 1985. It played only at one small art house cinema in Boston. I saw it back then and found it amusing. The sexual content is very subtle--aside from a few kisses and some casual full frontal male nudity we don't see anything. Also all out sexual activities are off camera. The acting is good, the complications are interesting and the final shot on Dona tells you everything you need to know. Hard to find but pleasant.
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7/10
Very Satisfying and Worth Your Time
ekeby4 December 2006
Overlook the technical amateurism (sound especially) and some wooden acting. The storyline is original and well thought out. The enigmatic duplicity of Dona Herlinda is constant throughout the film, and a joy to watch. We're pretty sure we know that she knows what she's doing, but there's always a doubt in our mind. That doubt keeps us watching and waiting.

American gay guys of today, particularly younger guys, may find some scenes bizarre if not unbelievable. The dancing scenes at Lake Chalapa, for example. Trust me, it's the way things were. Having lived in Mexico some twenty years before this film was made, I can say with confidence that it depicts a slice of Mexican society in true-to-life fashion.

I enjoyed this movie quite a lot, and not just because the setting was somewhat nostalgic for me. I wasn't entirely sure where the movie was heading at any point, and to me, that's a sure mark of a good movie.
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7/10
Macho men
jotix10025 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When this film came out, it was quite a revolutionary event in the Mexican cinema. Not having seen it since its release, we caught with it via the DVD transfer. Unfortunately, the poor sound quality ruined, in a way, our enjoyment of the film, as we remembered it.

"Dona Herlinda y su hijo" is a film that presents a situation in Mexico, that could well be universal throughout Latin America and other societies where the macho mentality produce situations such as the one we witness in the film. Director Jaime Humberto Hermosillo, working on a short story by Jorge Lopez Paez, which we never read, presents us a slice of the bourgeois society in which admitting that a son is gay, is a social catastrophe. Families of a certain social status resort to hide the fact by pretending everything is all right. In most cases, they marry the son in order to hide the truth, as seems to be what Dona Herlinda does with Rodolfo.

Of course, much water has gone under the bridge from the time when this movie was made and more and more people open up to accept the same people they would have condemned for being honest about their sexual preferences, instead of staying in the closet and making things much worse because their actions would hurt innocent persons.

The situation in the film involves the love affair between Rodolfo, a neurosurgeon who specializes in pediatric medicine, and a musical student, Ramon. The evolved Dona Herlinda, who obviously must know what is really going on between her son and Ramon, invites the young man to move to her large house in Guadalajara, and even suggests he should share Rodolfo's bed.

Rodolfo, who must cover his true nature, begins to see Olga, a young woman from his same circle. He proposes and marries her, breaking Ramon's heart in the process. Dona Herlinda, who is more intelligent than she is given credit for, pulls strings to keep Ramon at her home and decides to expand the house so that Rodolfo and Olga can move in with the grandson and live together happily ever after.

Of course, the film is in simple terms a fun story, but deep inside it touches a lot of themes that have been taboo in so many societies. Usually mothers aren't as accepting as this Dona Herlinda, who acts as a procurer for the son she loves by inviting the young lover, Ramon, to come live with her.

The acting by all the principals is well paced under Mr. Hermosillo's tight direction. Best of all is Guadalupe Del Toro, who is seen in the key role of Herlinda. Arturo Meza, Marco Antonio Trevino and Leticia Lupercio are also good.

The only thing we would have wished was a better quality DVD, rather than the one that has been made for commercial distribution.
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7/10
in praise of the long take...
DonnaJo15 October 1999
What I found most intriguing about this film was the beautiful camera-work. Several scenes were shot as one long take, with the camera tracking back and forth to follow the actors. The representation of space this created was spectacular. The characters' relationships to each other were literally fleshed out by their positions within the frame.
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10/10
A perfect description of latin attitude/hypocrisies towards male homosexuality
Orsetto29 September 1998
The movie is very funny and involving, but more than that. Showing how prehistorical and hypocrite may be the latin countries' attitude towards an effective, and paradoxical, way to cope with it. All winners and no loser. And -as in the real wold- the most "macho" of the characters appears to be the most passive one...
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9/10
A great Love story.
Miguel Carvajal23 September 1998
I really like this movie because it has a feeling of being open and sincere. The first time I saw it I was shocked for two reasons: because it had been filmed in the city I was born in (and this was shown in the very opening scene which shows the Plaza de la Liberacion with its fountains and the famous cathedral of Guadalajara in the background) and because of the straightforward approach to such a "delicate" subject, such as the sincere love between two adult males, by the director Jaime Humberto Hermosillo. What I found most endearing in the whole movie is the fact that Doña Herlinda, the mother of one of the two men in love, knows about her son's sexual orientation but she's willing to accept it as long as she gets her only wish: a grandson. The acting is very good, the characters very much alive, and the many twists and turns on the story make this movie funny and poignant at the same time. I gave it only 9 stars because the choice of music used in the movie is old and outdated, even for the time the movie was originally filmed. This is a great love story for both gay and straight movie lovers.
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