Ernesto Rimoch’s second feature is a romantic comedy that stays charming for most of its length. Based on an award-winning novel by Sara Sefchovich, “To Love, Too Much” takes a whimsical look at the sexual and emotional awakening of a young woman through an episodic structure that falters in its last half-hour. With its lightweight handling of love and sex themes, pic promises to be a crowdpleaser in the same vein as 1996 hit “Cilantro y perejil.” Foreign sales could be healthy in the Hispanic market.
Nothing much is going for Beatriz (Karina Gidi), a homely secretary whose sister Laura (Ana Karina Guevara) has flown to Spain to set up a boarding house. A chance encounter in a diner changes Beatriz’s life. Mysterious stranger Carlos (Ari Telch) pays her bill a couple of times and then seduces her on an intoxicating vacation.
Carlos disappears, but soon a succession of men, ranging from nebbish to normal, take Beatriz to bed and later express their gratitude with gifts and cash. Among them are her lecherous boss (Jose Sefami) and a gay architect (Daniel Martinez). The woman enjoys her new popularity but still waits for Carlos’ return and dreams of joining her sister in Spain. At the end, Beatriz’s self-discovery will be complete.
In her first film, theater actress Karina Gidi renders her character’s transformation with a nuanced palette of emotions (she deservedly won the best actress prize at the Guadalajara fest). While not adhering to conventional notions of beauty, Gidi makes Beatriz seem to ripen onscreen into a sensuous, attractive woman.
On the other hand, Rimoch’s direction is too literal at times in representing Beatriz’s fantasy world. For instance, the images of ideal love in a variety of landscapes bring to mind the prefab prettiness of postcards. “To Love, Too Much” turns slack in its final stretch because there’s little visual pizzazz to support the screenplay’s awkward need to explain everything with dialogue.
Also, Ari Telch is miscast as the knight in a shining pickup truck. In his few scenes, the telenovela star suggests more a teddy bear than a macho hunk capable of jump-starting a woman’s love life.
Spanish composer Joan Valent tasteful themes are an asset. Picturesque cinematography by Gabriel Figueroa Flores (son of the late, great Gabriel Figueroa) is his first work in film.