Bonsai: Tend to your life, loves and lies with equal ardor and attention to detail
Bonsai is a sweet, sad and highly relatable Chilean love story about a lost young man, an aspiring novelist, who casually lies, passionately reads and – at least as an adult – idly romances his way through life. After telling his current lover he is transcribing a novel written in long-hand by a famous author, they bond more deeply over the process.
To nurture that lie, and to give his own life some structure and purpose, he begins forging a copy – on the same notebooks and complete with coffee stains and cigarette ashes. His writing is clumsy at first, probably due to the fact that he has little experience to draw from, until he starts retelling his first love, with a beautiful free spirited girl.
In a series of flashbacks, he remembers their meeting, their long romance, the passion and the lounging about reading and enjoying each other. That energy is channeled into the fake novel and his present day life is re-energized. Of course, we all know the first love doesn't survive and we travel back and forth in time to learn why, to watch as his current relationship slowly evolves and to find out if it is possible to recapture that youthful fervor as a more experienced – and more disappointed and disillusioned – adult.
The bonsai, of course, is symbolic of the past relationship and his current aimlessness (no accident that the plant is not deeply rooted and exists as a carefully sculpted miniature of real life). It sounds corny, and ham-fisted, but works surprisingly well and while potted plants figure largely throughout, the bonsai itself is actually more of a breakthrough that adds a sliver of hope, albeit with tiny, tiny limbs.
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