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Juan Diego Botto,
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Juan Diego Botto,
Leo is immediately set adrift by his new found responsibilities as a single parent, a feeling that is made doubly distressing when Dafne, herself understandably confused and heartbroken by her mother's absence, asks for an "artificial" mother to help her fall asleep at night. It is here that Mañas takes the road less traveled, but to write any more about the plot line he introduces would be unfair to both the viewer and filmmaker alike. Suffice it to say that Leo's actions are both surprising and potentially dangerous, as they require Leo to subsume his own identity to the point where he nearly loses it Written by
Palm Springs Internation Film Festival
I don't know if I can. I don't know how I'm going to do it.
By doing it. You won't have time to think. Do you know why? Because, fortunately, children are more important than oneself. You'll stop thinking about yourself, because their happiness will matter to you more thatn your suffering, Leo.
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Alicia, the young wife of a Madrid lawyer named Leo, dies suddenly, leaving him to raise their four-year-old daughter Dafne alone. Dafne cannot go to sleep at night unless Leo impersonates her mother, which he does (with help from an elderly drag queen), but only at bedtime.
Dafne is delighted, telling everybody her mother is still alive, but the transformation causes problems for Leo. The night after her teacher tells Leo that it is not healthy for Dafne to believe he has become her mother, Leo panics, takes off the wig, clothes and makeup, and forces Dafne to admit that he is her father, not her mother. It takes a while, but she finally does; but when she immediately says she wants him to be Mommy all the time, he gives in and does it.
From then on, Dafne never sees him any other way. He takes her to school, the doctor, other kids' parties, and everywhere else they go in drag, and she consistently identifies him as her mother. He takes off the wig and makeup as he drives from her school to his office, and then he puts them back on as he drives in the afternoon to pick her up.
You might expect a story like this to have some elements of comedy in it, but it has none at all; it is a serious drama throughout. But Leo is not made out to be insane, either, nor is it a psychological thriller. It is just the story of a youngish widower and his very young daughter dealing with grief in a particularly implausible way.
It is nicely photographed, though, and Juan Diego Botto is okay as Leo (although he is finally looking middle-aged), and Lucía Fernández Ramos is adorable as Dafne. But the story is just too preposterous to take seriously, and most of the dialog is awful. I guess even the Spanish - who have made some excellent movies recently - are allowed to make a clunker occasionally.
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