A congenial fish-out-of-water drama that stays just the right side of sentimental even though it strays just the wrong side of plausible, “Through Your Eyes” engagingly follows the misfortunes of an elderly Argentine gent stranded in Manhattan. With terrific perfs by vets Pepe Soriano and Adriana Aizenberg (who departs the pic too early), this is smoothly made fare with the kind of emotionally generous script that could provoke interest among offshore fans of Latino cinema.
Daydreaming ice-factory owner Lito (Soriano) leaves a Buenos Aires in economic meltdown to travel to New York with assertive wife Nilda (Adriana Aizenberg) so she can have a kidney operation. Nilda speaks some English, Pepe none, and the pic beautifully captures their sense of awe on their first encounter with the city.
Nilda falls in the hotel bathroom and loses her sight. When she is hospitalized, there comes the bad news that there’s been a power-cut back home and the ice in the factory is melting. Nilda asks Lito to go out and film New York for her (hence the pic’s title), and he befriends streetwise Argentine hotel worker Peru (Marcos Dubuch). But on his return to the hospital, Lito hears Nilda has unexpectedly passed away.
Solid performances ground the film enough in reality for the script’s flaws not to stand out. And the narrative rolls effortlessly along, taking the audience smoothly through some unlikely coincidences and events, especially in the final quarter-hour.
The crumpled Soriano, wearing a battered woolen hat that takes on iconic value, does fine work as an elderly, distracted loser suddenly alone for the first time in years and forced to find some focus in an alien environment. Soriano handles this potentially sentimental role with beautifully judged self-control.
Gotham’s nocturnal majesty is well captured in a couple of sequences, while discreet use of a handheld camera in the street scenes underlines the central character’s utter isolation. Dialogue includes generous doses of English.