Roberto Sneider’s You’re Killing Me Susana (Me estás matando Susana) is a culture-clash comedy in which the clash happens both onscreen and off. Eligio (Gael García Bernal) is a self-absorbed telenovela character actor in Mexico City who thinks nothing of carousing and cheating on his novelist wife Susana (Verónica Echegui), and yet is surprised and angry to wake up one morning to find she’s left him. He tracks her down at a writing seminar at a university in Iowa, where he ingratiates himself into her life Benjamin Braddock–style, though Susana is a bit more accepting of his return than Elaine was.
Sneider’s film has curious structural echoes of one of the best fish-out-of-water stories of recent years, 2015’s Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (particularly as Eligio makes his way through the wintry Midwest), but the breezier Susana lacks that film’s sense of both personal jeopardy and existential malaise, instead examining modern masculinity, Mexican stereotypes and especially the privilege of beauty. Gael García Bernal could still charm the chrome off a bumper on his worst day, so it’s worth speculating how the picture would play with, say, the equally talented but not quite as classically hunky Noé Hernández from last month’s We Are the Flesh in the lead. Susana‘s denouement would certainly hit differently, and if that’s frustrating, it may also be the point.
You’re Killing Me Susana (Me estás matando Susana)
Directed by Roberto Sneider
Hola Mexico Distribution
Opens Februray 17, Cinepolis Chelsea
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 14, 2017