‘Para Elisa’: Not the Worst, but Often Frustrating and Unpleasant (review)

Spanish movie. Ana (Ona Casamiquela) is a college student who needs to raise money for a post-grad trip, so she answers an ad for a nanny. Unfortunately, her employer Diamantina (Luisa Gavasa) is completely unstable, and her daughter Elisa (Ana Turpin), who turns out to be older than Ana, wants her to be her doll. And when Elisa doesn’t get what she wants, she gets violent.

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There are things to like about the movie. The sets are great, and the scenery is gorgeous. The acting is decent. The score is properly ominous. The filmmakers do a good job of building tension, for example blood dripping on Diamantina’s piano during the opening credits. There are some creepy moments, like when Elisa says, “If I take your legs, you won’t walk.”

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But ultimately I found watching the film frustrating, for multiple reasons. Ana is really whiny and annoying, and the characters surrounding her are no better, from her physically abusive on-again/off-again boyfriend Alex (Jesús Caba) to her friend Úrsula (Sheila Ponce), who is trying to get in Alex’s pants. Then there’s the scene when Ana, who has been given a drug that doesn’t allow her to speak, manages to get Alex on her cell phone and is stymied by her speechlessness—did Spanish cell phones not have texting in 2012? par6Or the many times when Ana should have been able to simply overpower Elisa–she’s tiny! And Ana has rage on her side! Or how Elisa ties her up with ribbon, even after Ana demonstrates that she can get out of such a flimsy binding. Or the scene when Alex goes to the police and tells them that a stranger answered his girlfriend’s phone and mentioned that she was being “punished,” and the police tell him they have to wait 48 hours to start looking for her (which is not a thing in real life), and when he won’t leave they threaten to lock him up. On a personal level, I’m learning Spanish, but I still oyo muy lentamente, and I had some adjusting to do to keep up with Ana’s rapid-fire delivery, but that’s my own fault.

If you’re in the mood for a Spanish movie about a woman being held captive against her will, give it a look. Or watch the amazing To Let. Why not both?

 

Published by GhoulieJoe

I wuvs the horror movies and like to write snarky reviews about them. I also included some pretentious as hell microfiction (don't worry, it's at the bottom).

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