Review: ‘Love, Curiosity, Prozac And Doubt’

Redeemed by good performances and an air of freshness and enthusiasm, troubled femme movie is uneven overall, though often entertaining and abrasive. Based on a novel by polemical bestseller Lucia Etxeberria, pic has been roundly slammed by critics at home and only achieved low-level B.O., but fest prospects are decent.

Redeemed by good performances and an air of freshness and enthusiasm, troubled femme movie “Love, Curiosity, Prozac and Doubt” is uneven overall, though often entertaining and abrasive. Based on a novel by polemical bestseller Lucia Etxeberria, pic has been roundly slammed by critics at home and only achieved low-level B.O., but fest prospects are decent.

First scene is a nice metaphor for the whole problem of female sexuality in Latin cultures: Cristina (Pilar Punzano) and friend Pili (Esther Ortega) are talking explicitly about sex on a public bus and are asked to get off by the middle-aged driver who has been ogling them.

Cristina starts a relationship with a visiting French student, Willy (Guillaume Depardieu, whose heavily accented playing is pic’s weakest link). She has two sisters: Ana (Silvia Marso), locked into a loveless marriage to Borja (Guillermo Toledo), and uptight Rosa (Rosa Mariscal), a business exec and virgin, who is married to her work.

The three sisters’ stories run parallel and are united by the relationship each had, years earlier, with junkie Mikel (Nancho Novo). However, Rosa’s contemporary storyline is less dramatic than the others’, as she has no one to play off against.

Ana takes an overdose of sleeping pills, and the sisters reunite. This leads to some heavy-duty bonding and an overstated, militantly feminist conclusion.

There’s nothing new in the film’s plotting, the dialogue is occasionally navel-gazingly wearisome, and sometimes the movie feels schematic in its attempt to X-ray three types of modern woman. Still, the nuanced perfs, particularly from Punzano as the mood-swinging Cristina and Marso as the defiantly brave-faced Ana, make the characters transcend the ideas they’re supposed to represent.

Technically things are fine, though outdoor shots are sometimes too bleached.

Love, Curiosity, Prozac And Doubt

Spain

Production

A Warner Sogefilms release of a Mate Produccion/Vertigo production in association with Sogepaq. (International sales: Pandora, Paris.) Produced by Mate Cantero, Stephane Sorlat. Directed by Miguel Santesmases. Screenplay, Santesmases, Lucia Etxeberria.

Crew

Camera (color), Aitor Mantxola; editor, Luis Villar; music, Pascal Gaigne; art director, Gabriel Carrascal; sound (Dolby Digital), Aitor Berenguer. Reviewed at Cines Acteon, Madrid, June 28, 2001. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Pilar Punzano, Rosa Mariscal, Silvia Marso, Guillaume Depardieu, Guillermo Toledo, Nancho Novo, Esther Ortega.
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