By Andrea Karen Hammer
With universally recognizable themes as Father’s Day approaches and the pandemic lingers, Son of the Bride (2001) still holds interest as a thought-provoking, charming and touching movie. This Argentine comedy-drama, which Juan José Campanella directed and Campanella and Fernando Castets wrote, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and won the Silver Condor for Best Film.
The completely natural actors in this film deliver believable performances as troubled yet ultimately loving friends and family. Each one masterfully portrays flawed and all-to-human-characters in recognizable roles reflecting true-to-life scenarios.
Realistic Family Portraits Capture Complexity and Love
Throughout the film, the tenderness and light in Nino Belvedere’s (Hector Alterio‘s) eyes continues to shine. Hector Alterio‘s outstanding and utterly convincing expression of enduring love for his wife of 44 years results in some of the most moving scenes in Son of the Bride.
As his Alzheimer’s-plagued wife living in a nursing home, Norma Aleandro as his “bride” Norma Belvedere delivers an equally powerful performance. Norma Aleandro‘s ability to capture the complexity of this condition–bouncing from baby talk to wiping away her apologetic son’s tears for rarely visiting her–reveals her astonishing range as an actress.
Struggles of Middle-Aged Man Searching for Happiness
This portrait of Rafael Belvedere, who Ricardo Darin shapes realistically, reflects the simultaneously heart-breaking and exasperating struggles of a middle-aged man still seeking his mother’s approval. Although his desire to escape the pressures of running his family’s restaurant are understandable, his desire to “drop out” and the painful tailspin effect that he creates are frustrating to watch.
Amid his confusion of offering “freedom” to his girlfriend Naty (who Natalia Verbeke plays expressively), Rafael becomes angry when a friend confesses interest in her. Along with his struggles to handle responsibilities as a divorced father, this lost man finally realizes that his dream of escaping to Mexico will not deliver happiness.
As he witnesses his father’s determination to remarry his mother in a church for their silver anniversary–despite her illness and their separation–Ricardo Darin helps viewers understand that Rafael will begin to find peace right near the family restaurant.
Your Reactions and Comments
Did you recognize or relate to any of the characters in Son of the Bride and, if so, in what specific ways? Did you think that the actors captured the complexity of family dynamics accurately, and what scenes spoke to you personally? What did you think of the point in this comedy-drama that happiness, which is frequently pursued in remote locations–is actually close to home?
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