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10 June 2005

Spanglish

Adam Sandler, Téa Leoni, Paz Vega & Cloris Leachman

Directed by James L. Brooks (As Good as it Gets)

From Hollywood Video: “A Mexican woman and her teenage daughter move to Los Angeles in hopes of finding a better life. They move in with an affluent family where she works as a housekeeper but really becomes a marriage counselor for the estranged couple.”

Keven and I watched this together a few days ago, savoring the idea of a light-hearted comedy. Of the three movies I rented, this was the only one to qualify for that category. We enjoyed it a great deal. Téa Leoni was fantastic as a micro-managing, obsessive mom with no clue as to what her kids and husband needed from her, while Cloris Leachman's portrayal of her mother was equally dynamic and created a telling tension about the nature of their personalities, their relationship. Spainard Paz Vega, in her first Hollywood role, was terrific -- playful, anxious, cute, angry, and always trying to make the best decisions for her daughter. As Flor, she is torn between wanting the best opportunities for her girl while also fearing the changes that take place as they are both influenced by the culture and lifestyle of the affluent white world. Her blossoming relationship with Adam Sandler's character was tender and hesitant, very vulnerable, as was his performance.

The movie was funny and full of moments for absurdist giggles, but it also offered a gentle, realistic look at the fragility of our closest relationships: marriages, parents and children, friends. "Heartwarming" in the best sense of the word.

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