Héctor is a troubled kid. Isolated, introverted and yet fiercely intuitive, he finds himself sentenced to a juvenile detention centre after a string of criminal offences. Twenty-odd attempted escapes later and Héctor is introduced to a rescue dog in need of training. Across an unspecified amount of time, Héctor forms a strong bond with this dog and names him Sheep. Their friendship is abruptly cut short once Héctor learns Sheep has been adopted, and that his job of training him has reached completion. Devested by the loss, he flees from the detention centre and reunites with his brother Ismael (Sánchez) and ailing grandmother Cuca (Cordón) on a spontaneous road trip to locate his estranged companion. What follows is an extraordinarily beautiful film about brotherhood and reconnecting with your past while facing up to life's impending challenges. Seventeen packs two fantastic central performances by relative unknowns Biel Montoro and Nacho Sánchez. Both actors share wonderful chemistry together and their dysfunctional yet discreetly compassionate relationship is at the very heart of the film, driving it forward with bittersweet tenderness and occasional moments of casual humour. Arévalo and Sánchez craft a wonderful screenplay that feels genuinely human and relatable in its approach to sibling dynamics and family ties while not succumbing to overly sentimental territory. Seventeen is a remarkable piece of work that deserves much more recognition. It stands as one of 2019's most heart-warming films and is currently available on Netflix.
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