(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)
Cantinflas may be a typical biographical movie, but Oscar Jaenada gives a great performance of the legendary Latino comedian. The movie shows his rags to riches story and why people around the world love him. Great acting to sell this movie. Rating: 3.5 out if 5 Stars.
To start off National Latino Month (a month very near and dear to me that celebrates Latino history and culture.) I decided to go and check out and review the movie Cantinflas. Although I’ve haven’t watched a lot of his movies, but I knew that he was a big deal in the Latino culture. A comedic legend that put Latino Entertainment History on the map. He inspired some of my favorite Latino comedians now like Paul Rodriguez and George Lopez. I knew of him, but I didn’t know much about his life and how he came to the business. So I’m glad they made a movie about it. Now I can see how his life was like during the process of his career becoming legendary. I will start with what I liked, to the so-so, to what I didn’t like.
What I liked, the movie really captures the character of not only the character of Cantinflas, but as Mario Moreno as well. The movie shows that it is two different types of personalities. I thought Oscar Jaenada acted very well and caught the essence of this legendary comedic actor. He showed how genuine he is, and how he brought charm and craziness for the people to enjoy. He also showed vulnerability as both Cantinflas and Mario Moreno which really can relate to a normal person. To me Jaenada was Cantinflas and pretty much had him down pact from the voice and demeanors, to his crazy dancing. Some scenes I enjoyed was when he called out the head of the Mexican actors union for embezzlement. It showed how powerful he was in the Mexican entertainment business. I also liked how he started out as a guy who desperately needed a job, to doing tent shows, to stage shows, to movies in Mexico, to finally making Hollywood movies. A nice tags to riches story. I liked that during his journey he did his way, and pretty much started doing improve in whatever show he did much to the chagrin of the director and writers, but we see how important improve is in comedy today. I liked the subplot of producer Michael Todd, played by Michael Imperioli, trying to make the movie, “Around the World in 80 Days,” without spending a fortune. I just like the scene where Todd was pitching to Cantinflas just for a cameo role as an Apache Indian, which is a stereotypical role for Latinos, which Mario Moreno gracefully declined the offer. With Todd almost losing his job got some inspiration from none other than silent movie comedic actor Charlie Chaplin, to get Mario Moreno to reconsider. Not only did Cantinflas made a surprise appearance to the press conference, but was offered for one of the main roles. The rest is history as the movie won many awards including Academy Award for Best Picture and Mario Moreno winning a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy beating out a cocky Marlon Brando.
The so so, I knew it is a foreign film coming from Mexico, but luckily I spoke Spanish. However, when I do read the subtitles, some phrases were off in the translation. Especially when Cantinflas says his catchphrase, “Ahi esta el detalle,” which they translated to, “There is the rub,” which confuses me, cuz the literal translation is, “There is the detail,” so I don’t know. Maybe there is an expression I’m missing here, but it kind of pestered me a little. In the movie they show the relationship between Cantinflas and his wife, Valentina Ivanova, played by Ilse Salas. They showed how they met, and how great was their relationship when he got married. However, once Cantinflas started getting popular, he worked more than spending time with his wife which really affected. Not only his wife, he almost forgot his family that helped him get his start. It took a thing for the worse when his wife found out that she couldn’t have children. Once she left him, Cantinflas knew he had to make a change in his work ethic to spend more time with his family, and succeeded to getting his wife back until his death. I just wished the movie showed more of that relationship, cuz when she left and got back together, it happened so fast. Would’ve liked to see that story dynamic more. I wasn’t too fond in the beginning of the movie where Cantinflas first performance was in black face. I know he did it for a reason, and at the time it was accepted, but it just left a sour taste in my mouth. I’m glad he wasn’t successful in that, and found his true character.
What I didn’t like, for a biographical film it was cliched. They really rushed throughout his life and focused more on him starting his comedic greatness in American movies. I wished it showed more of his struggle at the beginning, and really developed his character as he becomes more and more popular. Instead the film just shows why he is a good man and a comedic legend and less of his vulnerability. I wish it was the other way around. Wanted to see more of his issues with the head of the Mexican actor union, and if there was any repercussions.
Overall, the movie was typical for a biographical film, but I really enjoyed learning briefly about his life of this comedic Latino legend. I enjoy my Latino culture and history in every aspect, and this one as a learning film was good for me. As National Latino Month moves along, I hope y’all take the time and see how important Latinos are to America and have a better appreciation for our culture. Final Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars.