Elsa & Fred's Rancid Romance
Seventy-seven-year-old Elsa (Uruguayan actress China Zorrilla) has what might charitably be called "an outsized personality." Exuberant, garrulous, completely self-absorbed, she has the conscience of a teenager who claims a death in the family in order to get out of a math test. When Alfredo (veteran Spanish actor Manuel Alexandre), a quiet, reserved, almost rigidly honest widower, moves into her apartment building, Elsa sets her sights on him. Clearly, Spanish director and co-writer Marcos Carnevale wants his romantic comedy to be viewed as a funny, sad, heartwarming affirmation of life and love—but that requires excusing Elsa's narcissism and constant lying as charming eccentricities when, in fact, they are off-putting enough to sour the whole film. The problem isn't the acting; both actors are superb. It's Elsa's character that is so difficult to take. Only the hopelessly romantic will be able to tolerate her.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Alex Gibney: Steve Jobs Had the 'Focus of a Monk — Without the Empathy'
- Netflix’s 'Narcos' Tries to Be 'The Wire' for Colombia’s Drug War
- ‘The Second Mother’ Offers a Sharp Brazilian Take on the Upstairs/Downstairs Drama
- The Predictability of Teary Kids Doc 'My Voice, My Life' Doesn't Make It Any Less Powerful