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Reviews & Ratings for
Bear Cub More at IMDbPro »Cachorro (original title)

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32 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

An uncompromising, well-acted dramedy for mature audiences

Author: Gary M. James from United States
25 October 2004

"Bear Cub" (Cachorro) has been shown at several film festivals since it was first released in its native Spain in early 2004. I saw the movie on Opening Night at the ImageOut Film Festival in Rochester, NY. The near-capacity crowd was very receptive to the film.

The story, about a gay man who finds himself taking care of his young nephew for an unexpectedly extended period, has been done before in different variations ("About a Boy", "Three Men and a Baby", television's Bachelor Father, etc.). Compared with other movies, "Bear Cub" stands out by not compromising the depiction of the main character's social life especially with the explicit and what will be a very controversial opening sequence. (Note: the opening scenes and a few other scenes were edited for general release in the U.S. I saw the unedited version at the film festival I attended.)

I'm happy of the decision by co-writer/director Miguel Abaladejo (with co-writer Salvador García Ruiz) to present to the moviegoers a subculture of the gay population called Bears. It might open a few people's minds. Pedro, the lead character (well-played by José Luis García Pérez) and his circle of friends do not fit the dominant depiction of what gay men look like especially in movies: bearded and husky.

Another thing that impressed me was the performance of David Castillo. He plays Bernardo, the precocious nephew who is mature way beyond his years but, in one of the many plot twists that propel the film, there are reasons why he is that way.

I almost forgot to mention how funny and touching this film is. Bear Cub is a very well-balanced dramedy. The comedy comes out of the unusual familial situation and when complications arise in the guise of Bernardo's estranged paternal grandmother Doña Teresa (Empar Ferrer), it made for a very compelling drama.

The decision to change the aspect of the movie from just observing the characters to having some of the characters talk to the camera in the final 20 minutes was not a good idea. Despite that flaw, I found Bear Cub to be a timely, well-performed and memorable film.

P.S.: I would bet a few dollars that a production company in Hollywood would be too cowardly to remake a film like this much less buy the rights to make the movie. The movie's honest depiction of a man having a social gay life without making value judgments might be too much for some viewers or, for that matter, some members of the Hollywood community to tolerate.

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31 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

A Bear

Author: Intertextual from Australia
18 June 2004

A great movie. Showing a man who is a bear and his everyday life. Touches on many issues but does not wrap everything up, which is great. Lets you think rather than be spoon fed. The issues include HIV, family, gay life and love. It will make you think about relationship and love as well as how we live our everyday lives. Sex is also a big topic of this film. How it fits into and what in means in life.

This film has a lot of heart, is fun and well worth a look.

One of those films you can watch again and again and get more out of it because it is so rich with humanity. The characters are full and interesting. The storyline moves along very nicely taking you places which are surprising.

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29 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

The firs emotive, real, non porno bear movie i have seen.

Author: Ignacio Paredero from Salamanca, Spain
23 May 2004

A movie who makes you cry, laugh and recognize yourself its a movie you should see. Tenderness, paternal feelings, and a show of the madrid bear scene are enough to make any one, regardless sexual orientation, understand some bits more of the world, and feel it like theirs.

The music its too fine, the bears are too handsome, director chooses not to avoid real issues in gay life, like sex, cruising, dark rooms, baths... But he does it like they are as usual as going to cinema, showing clearly that what we do in bed doesn't makes us better or worse.

The story or the movie its a story of feelings, between a father and his son, uncle and nephew who learn to be with each other, showing the world that raising a children its only love, not being a non sexual being. that first and foremost, trust, love, care and tenderness are the stuff a boy its raised on.

in few words, its my movie :)

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27 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Getting it Right: A Healthy Look at Gay Life from Spain

Author: gradyharp from United States
14 July 2005

BEAR CUB (CACHORRO) is a delight! This joyous film has the wisdom (and courage, if US standards are applied!) to open the doors and windows depicting a segment of the gay population who are healthy in attitude, in lasting relationships and friendships, and who don't swerve from addressing issues such as AIDS, single parenting, recreational dalliances, the dangers of drugs, and the importance of family. It is honest in dialogue, in casting, and in demonstrating that all people are subjected to the same ups and downs, no matter their sexual proclivity.

Pedro (José Luis García Pérez) is a successful dentist, a warmly human man who is surrounded by caring friends - primarily men who call themselves 'bears', a subunit of the gay population identified by hairy faces and bodies, stout husky physiques instead of the usual gay image of the perfectly carved gym body, and a live-and-let-live philosophy of upfront honesty, warmth and caring for their extended families. Pedro is openly gay, a fact that his widowed sister Violeta (Elvira Lindo) and her 9-year old son Bernardo (David Castillo) happily accept. When Violeta and her current paramour Borja (Cali Caballero) decide to vacation in India, Bernardo is left with Pedro for the promised two week stay.

During their time together Pedro and Bernardo bond, Bernardo is introduced to Pedro's friends and is entirely comfortable by the healthy relationships he sees. Pedro is not partnered (his lover Eduardo died...) but he dates openly with Bernardo's knowledge. When Pedro is in his Dental Office, baby sitter Lola (Diana Cerezo) introduces Bernardo to go-go and other parts of the world outside and becomes a happy trio with the two males. News comes that Violeta and Borja have been arrested in India for drug trafficking, changing the two-week vacation into a time indefinite absence. Pedro and Bernardo adjust.

Things take a turn when Bernardo's estranged grandmother Doña Teresa (Empar Ferrer) enters the scene, haughty, disapproving of Bernardo's living situation, and taking advantage of the absence of her hated daughter-in-law to attempt to gain custody of Bernardo, 'the only thing I have left in life.' Due to some unfortunate twists of behavior and fate, Doña Teresa gains evidence to blackmail Pedro, not only because of his sexual outings photographed by her investigator, but because she discovers Pedro is HIV positive. In her attempts to denounce Pedro we discover the Bernardo already knows of his uncle's HIV status (as well as Violeta's) and Bernardo pleads with Pedro not to let Doña Teresa take him away. A compromise is reached and Bernardo is sent off to a coed school in Valencia.

How all of these twists and turns resolve constitutes the surprising ending of this excellent film: each of the characters is shown to be wholly three-dimensional, even Doña Teresa, and the overriding importance of family and compassion and love rules the day. The ending is open ended, allowing the viewer to select the way to conclude the story.

Director and co-writer (with Salvador García Ruiz) Miguel Albaladejo is a master at finding the core of truth in each of his characters, their individual life styles, and the unfettered joy of living uncompromised lives. The cast is extraordinary: José Luis García Pérez is a natural actor, David Castillo is completely believable as Bernardo, and the remainder of the cast is outstanding. The original music by Nacho Canut and Olvido Gara is so in keeping with the tone of the film. Yes, there are some consensual sex scenes in this film, but they are treated with respect and decorum and without them the flavor of the film would be lacking. This is a refreshing film about the sanctity of love - and it just happens to be populated with one of the most lovable gay groups ever created! Highly recommended.

Grady Harp

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22 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Great little movie...but no sex?

Author: guarnot from New York, NY
20 November 2004

This is a great little movie. I was pleasantly surprised that it avoided falling into predictability and that it kept the characters, including the prudish grandmother, three-dimensional. In some ways, her character is the most interesting--like Violeta and Pedro, we want to hate her, but ultimately she turns out to be neither truly "evil" nor fully irredeemable--but nothing in the plot forces us to come around to liking her, either. I appreciated the fact that the movie's gay characters are bears, and that this is largely unremarkable.

Other reviewers commented on the frank sex scenes. These appear to have been cut from the movie in commercial release--and the cuts were especially noticeable and choppy. They rendered at least a couple of scenes pointless. There is a little bit of irony in sitting in a theatre near the West Village, in an audience that was probably 90% gay men, watching a movie that focuses on a (very) sexually active gay man, yet finding myself "protected" from witnessing the movie's sex scenes.

For instance, the opening scene, which I understand from reading reviews and comments is fairly explicit, simply opens with three men in bed together, and Pedro telling the other two to hurry up because family is coming. The bathhouse scene shows Pedro and another man walking off together, and then a very choppy edit finds us at the next scene. We do see some kissing and fully-clothed groping, and Pedro and his friend from Paris rolling around in bed and later waking up and cuddling. I don't have a particular need to see erect penises (at least, not in movies), but I have no idea what else I might have missed with the editing out of these scenes. And, of course, more to the point, these are (or were) part of the movie, whether they make some people uncomfortable or not.

I don't know--perhaps these cuts may have been a necessary compromise to put the film in commercial release, but it still sucks (so to speak). I guess I'll have to wait for the release of the DVD to see the film in unexpurgated form. (And maybe it'll include some cool outtakes, too?--no, just kidding).

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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

finaly gays like myself in a movie and in a very good one too !

Author: GargoyleLucian from Switzerland
8 May 2004

if been waiting for years for a movie like this. it`s got comedy, it`s got tragedy, it`s showing real life and it all comes together in a movie fun, entertaining, educational and filled with love to detail.

you will laugh, you will cry and most important - you will think about what you`ve seen and heared.

i recognised myself a lot in this movies or saw "friend-alikes".

congratulations !

cant wait to buy the DVD and watch it again !

and know what !? - the child is the real star of this movie, knowing live better then the grownups.

some dialogs are born to be cult (example: the very last sceen of the movie)

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20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Very good, and very true to life of the bear community

Author: cubearcub from United States
28 February 2005

As a young,gay, cub myself. I could relate to this movie. A lot. Though I have never been in a father figure situation, I do consider myself part of the community in a big way. The bear life is not all about sex, drugs, and alcohol, but mostly about friendship. Most guys who are bears, or enjoy being around bears, is because of the fact that bears are not phony or stuck up, like the stereotypical gay male.

But this movie, besides the fact that the lead actor and the boy did an amazing job, I feel that it should show more of how bear friends really are. The part where they had a surprise party, made me realize what it's like when I go to bear parties like that. Everyone is friendly and we all take care of each other. I think there should be more movies like this that shows gay men in this aspect. We're not all like the guys on Queer as Folk or Will and Grace.

But in my opinion I think the director did a great job in focusing on the main aspect: The Boy. And he did it well. But this is only the beginning of something great for us bears out there. And hopefully America will make a movie similar to this or a movie that somewhat shows gay life as not so campy and dramatic. Thank you for this movie, it needed to be made.


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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Bear cubs

Author: jotix100 from New York
11 November 2004

It appears to be a trend in the cinema by presenting the "bear" gay subculture. We already saw it in John Waters' "Dirty Shame" in the summer, although it's not the main idea of that picture. Of course, the John Waters' movie has nothing to do with Luis Miguel Albaladejo's superior film where we are presented with the Spanish version of this sub group of the gay culture where overweight men, usually hairy and cuddly tend to get together in bars, or other places where they can feel comfortable with one another.

In a way, it's a refreshing way to watch a film like this one that deals with that type of individuals, as they are presented leading normal lives without any hangups or other moral problems. In fact, the dialog is quite explicit as the people in the movie are not ashamed of their sexual preference and even those that aren't gay, keep an open mind about what is going on with Pedro, the man at the center of the story.

We get to know Pedro and his circle of friends. They all are normal people and well adjusted. Pedro is a loving man facing the dilemma of being a role model for his nephew, who has come into his life quite suddenly and without warning. Bernardo, the young boy, is wiser for his years as we get to know him better. This youngster, while being curious about his uncle's love life, is never a brat, as he takes everything in stride.

The film is a lot of fun for those that will watch it with open eyes. They will be rewarded to a fun time with a touch of reality at the end.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A Breathe of Fresh Air

Author: sumsumng from China
21 June 2005

It is good to see a movie neither 'demonize' nor 'victimize' gay people. This is an extraordinary movie about everyday relationships of ordinary person , some of whom happen to be bears.

The characters in this film are flawed one way or another. But that's part of the charm: they all have their own problems like everyone else of us have and they are dealing with these problems like we all have to. Unlike many 'gay-themed' movies which focused on 'shock value', this movie is free from bitter or self-pity. It goes back to the basic friendship and family connection which is so brilliantly portrayed.

I adore the bubbly attitude the movie holds. When bad things happened,drugs, jail, disease, people in this movie just deal with the bad fortune the simplest way. no mess, no fuss.

It's clean and shinny , it's a breathe of fresh air from Europe.

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17 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

A moving story about gay and straight culture clash

Author: abisio from Miami
9 August 2004

Cachorro is a movie about gay people that unexpectedly have to open their lives to the strict world of the straight culture. The most interesting thing about this movie is even most of the main movie characters are gay and not particularly beautiful (they are really bears), the effect of the movie is really intended to cause effects on straight people. I even imagine that many gay people will even feel offended by vicious lifestyle of this people.

Pedro is a middle age, middle class dentist. He is really a big gay bear (far from the styled all muscle gay community you can see on South Beach). Unexpected, his drug addict (and dealer) sister leave his 8 year son (Bernardo) to his care, she is traveling to India for business for two weeks with his boyfriend.

Pedro, gentle but self-centered person, does his best to keep the kid happy.

The kid knows perfectly well about his uncle homosexuality (his mother even thinks that the kid is homosexual too), but still has to change some of his habits like smoking joints in front of the kid or having sex in his bedroom.

This is a European movie, so dialogs and situation are FAAAAAAAAAAAR from the repressed American minds. When a friend try to smoke a joint, in front of the kid, Pedro stop him, but the kid offers to prepare it himself, as he usually does for his mother and adoptive father.

Out of nowhere, the kid's grandmother appears. She is a very depressed old but no to old woman, whose son (Bernardo's father) died for drug (and aids) and she is blaming Bernardo's mother for that. The kid of course wants nothing with her and refuse even to go out.

The relation between them growth from the obligation to real caring of the kid. That does no means, Pedro lifestyle completely changes. He refuses a steady relation ship with his French boyfriend / pilot. He embarks in quick sexual encounters in clubs and/or dark streets (there are a few strong sexual scenes here, so prepare to feel offended). In addition, he does joints and cocaine with his friends.

After a few days, Bernardo's mother is caught with drugs and put in jail. The grandmother will fight for the kid custody, using Pedro's lifestyle against him.

The characters are perfectly crafted. There are not bad people or saints. Probably Bernardo's selfish mother is worse than anybody else is. The grandmother is portrayed as a sad woman fighting to recover her only left family.

The battle custody ends in the only possible 'actual moral rules permit' however there are no big trials or lawyers arguments. Things get resolved as life, out of court, but the movie does not end there but keep going for a few more years, towards a perfect and realistic ending.

Due to some strong sexual scenes (my wife was completely horrified in certain moments), but most important for the surprising dialogs and situations, this movie will get an NC-17 without any doubt. It will be a pity to cut all this; doing so will diminished the effect the director wanted. Please, open your mind (close your eyes sometimes) and try to see this movie; you will not regret it...

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