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A story involving the famous Fidel Castro, who ironically arrives at Miami, like so many of his fellow Cubans, and at the same time living through a Cuban- American experience, creates the perfect scenario to watch him become a more humble person; the "Quixote of American Socialism". At the same time two sub- stories will strike the "emotional string" in our interior. The movie does not pretend to make any political statements on the Cuban Revolution or Fidel Castro's biography, however its purpose is to establish the story of the Miami of Today, in which all kinds of Cuban- American characters display their lives, their feelings and intentions relating to Fidel in his temporary and uncomfortable exile. The story shows "the other Cuba" and her two faces; one of the exiled Cubans, seeking the "American dream" and the other of the Cubans who capitalize this dream by camouflaging their political and economic interests, manipulating the dream of the others. Written by
Alejandro Gonzalez Padilla
Did I watch the same movie everyone else is trashing? I loved it!!!
I almost didn't watch "I Love Miami" based on the severe reaming it's gotten from IMDb reviewers. But actually the negative reviews made me even more interested to find out for myself. So I popped this in the DVD player with a bucket full of popcorn ready to be thrown at the screen.
I'm happy to report that no popcorn was hurled. I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish. I still can't understand why everyone else hates this movie (unless it offends people politically?), but I found this to be a very sly, stylish & well-produced film. It has some great deadpan comedy as well as some interesting political themes and a poignant commentary on human nature.
Other reviewers have complained about the lack of authentic Cuban accents, mannerisms and dialects. I wouldn't know about any of that. And honestly, improper accents don't bother me as long as the acting is good (example: John Malkovich playing the King of France in "The Messenger"). I thought the acting here was fantastic, from the lead roles down to the supporting cast. Two standounts are the cute little kid and the spazzy gay waiter who made me laugh every time he came on the screen. I don't know the female actors' names, but they were all excellent, each bringing a distinct personality to the production. The star of the show, Juan Luis Galiardo (who plays Fidel Castro), is a classic deadpan curmudgeon. Something about him reminds me of the great George C. Scott in "Dr. Strangelove".
Other elements of the Castro character make me think of Christopher Walken ("Suicide Kings"), the way he can play a cruel, cold-hearted monster, but he still makes us laugh, and we still love him.
Castro, for all his scowling and growling, is indeed presented as a protagonist with a human side, and maybe that's why so many people hate this movie. I suppose, to many Cubans, it's the equivalent of showing the human side of Adolph Hitler. All I can say is that this is a dark comedy with elements of irony & satire, and the filmmakers are BY NO MEANS glorifying Castro.
Enough politics, let's talk about the movie. The plot is pretty funny right off the bat: Fidel Castro, the dictator responsible for sending countless numbers of his countrymen fleeing to the USA, himself ends up on a raft bound for Miami. One thing leads to another, and he winds up as a busboy in a restaurant. This isn't what I'd call a madcap comedy, but it packs some good laughs, and I had a smile on my face for 75% of the movie.
The other 25% involves some heavy drama, some suspense and political intrigue, and a dash of romance & sentimentality which I thought was perfectly handled (not syrupy sweet). There's also some wonderful symbolism & allegory if you're paying attention. For example, there's a funny rivalry going on between the restaurant where Castro works and the restaurant across the street. This can be viewed as a political metaphor, and Castro's solution fits him perfectly.
But overall this isn't about politics but rather, it's about human qualities we all share, whether we're normal schmoes or grand dictators. The film gives us some great illustrations of pride, revenge, forgiveness, understanding and loyalty. And there's also a staggering Machiavellian theme that weaves its way throughout the story which I won't ruin for you. I'll just say that the film left me feeling absolutely satisfied, and the ending was both unexpected and totally believable.
If you've read this far in my review, DON'T HESITATE to see this movie. If nothing else, you can see for yourself if it's as bad as other reviewers say. But if you keep an open mind, I'm willing to bet you may be surprised & end up loving it as much as I did.
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