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María Mercedes Coroy,
Sabrina De La Hoz,
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It's a good first step towards LGBT representation in Guatemala, but falls short of some areas
Temblores is the second full length feature film by Jayro Bustamante, following the much acclaimed Ixcanul from 2015.
The film follows Pablo, a married man with two children who comes out as gay and whose life begins to unravel as society rejects him and his evangelical family goes to great lengths to cure his homosexuality.
The film appears to start out strong, but the issue with the first scene is that we are thrusted into conflict without much context to make us care for the protagonist or any of the characters in the movie. The stakes are so high, but without much needed backstory or exposition to engage the audience before this event takes place the whole mood feels very premature.
The relationship between Pablo and his boyfriend Francisco lacks chemistry, they also come from very different social background and have very different beliefs. I would've liked for the movie to provide some backstory as to how they met and what made them fall in love, or at least provide this information through dialogue, because I didn't buy it. There's also very little physical contact between them, which is not realistic for a gay couple living alone in an apartment.
Juan Pablo Olyslager and Sabrina de la Hoz deliver the strongest performances out of the cast. I also enjoyed the performances of the two kids. They are very well written, the way they rebel at not being able to see their father is heartbreaking and the dialogue they share is very well written. There isn't really a bad performance in the movie. The issue lies in the writing. All the characters in the movie function around the protagonist, they have no story arcs or motivations of their own. The lack of character development reduces all the supporting characters in the film, except for Francisco and the kids, to vile religious fanatics with zero redeeming qualities who will ruin Pablo's life as long as he's gay.
In conclusion, the film didn't know the right place to begin or the right place to end and the middle is a myriad of sequences that eventually lead nowhere. For a film to tackle such sensitive issues, I feel like it still walked on eggshells around them. I expected it to be more crude, more real, to go all in on these issues, but for a film called Temblores, I expected to be shaken to my core and it barely made me shiver.
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