×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sea of Dreams

Though good intentions don't necessarily excuse pic's more predictable elements, unjaded auds will see under-the-radar release as a rare treasure.

With:
Marcelo - Johnathon Schaech Grecia - Sendi Bar Rina - Angelica Maria Sebastian - Nicholas Gonzalez Tomaso - Seymour Cassel Nurka - Sonia Braga

Nearly two years after its Mexican release, English-language “Sea of Dreams” reaches U.S. shores like a relic of more innocent times, a polished curio amid sex- and violence-saturated features. Jose Bojorquez’s marine fairytale — about an island siren betrothed to the sea whose curse endangers any mortal who dares court her — evokes an era of storytelling, devoid of sensationalism and irony, on which many still dote. Though good intentions don’t necessarily excuse pic’s more predictable elements, unjaded auds will see under-the-radar release as a rare treasure.

It isn’t every day that a cast as far-reaching as this — Israeli beauty Sendi Bar, Americans Johnathon Schaech and Seymour Cassel, Brazilian legend Sonia Braga, Mexican favorites Angelica Maria and Nicholas Gonzalez — comes together as compatriots on the island of Hidden Port.

Young Grecia (Bar) washes ashore like Boticelli’s Venus, curled up in a shell-shaped raft. Although her parents perished, Grecia’s survival is viewed by the superstitious fishing community as a sign of good luck until, several years later, a village boy is taken by the sea after he attempts to steal a kiss from Grecia.

“The sea wants you for itself. Any man who loves you will die,” warns the drowned boy’s mother (Braga), who turns the entire community against Grecia — all but her second son, Sebastian (Gonzalez), who harbors a secret love for her while carefully keeping his distance from the sea.

Enter the oblivious Marcelo (Schaech). Immediately smitten by the sight of grown-up, gorgeous Grecia, he puts no stock in curses, which gives him an advantage over Sebastian. As love triangles go, this scorching trio could inspire countless Harlequin Romance covers: Buff Sebastian has no qualms about tearing off his T-shirt, casually metrosexual Marcelo expresses himself in artful photographs and Grecia pays her gratitude to the ocean by bathing in the nude (tastefully in silhouette).

At least one of Grecia’s suitors will end up swimming with the fishes, though Bojorquez paints neither as the villain. The sea proves most unforgiving, even if the film resists personifying it outright.

But, for all its charms, Bojorquez’s bittersweet yarn feels vaguely counterfeit: a picture of magical realism-infused quaintness engineered to pass as centuries-old local legend. Resulting three-hanky tragedy falls more in the vein of Nicholas Sparks than Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Like the brightly colored tchotchkes offered to border town tourists, pic’s effervescent look and exceptional score (by “Il Postino” composer Luis Bacalov) distract from a more genuine cultural experience. Some will see that artifice as the film’s greatest asset, allowing it to conform to the “Like Water for Chocolate” paradigm of what a Mexican film should be: passionate peasants unleashed in rustic locales. Fashionable modernists will dismiss it with a single eye-roll.

Sound design gets the pro treatment from Skywalker Sound, one of many indications that Bojorquez went the extra mile for project to be taken seriously. Having cast perform in English makes for a motley cacophony of accents, but theoretically widens pic’s potential aud.

Sea of Dreams

Production: A Success Films release of a Success Films production in association with Robert Katz Entertainment. Produced by Jose Bojorquez, Nickolay Todorov. Executive producers, Pedro DeKeratry, Robert Katz. Directed by Jose Bojorquez. Screenplay, Bojorquez, David Howard.

Crew: Camera (color), Christopher Chomyn; editor, Tia Nolan; music, Luis Bacalov; music supervisor, David Franco; production designer, Gloria Carrasco; set designers, Lizette Ponce, Veronica Levy; costume designer, Sergio Ruiz; sound (Dolby), Luciano Larobina; supervising sound editor, Gary Rizzo; sound designer, Kent Sparling; casting, Emily Schweber. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, Sept. 19, 2007. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 99 MIN.

With: Marcelo - Johnathon Schaech Grecia - Sendi Bar Rina - Angelica Maria Sebastian - Nicholas Gonzalez Tomaso - Seymour Cassel Nurka - Sonia BragaWith: Julio Bekhor, Gaston Melo, Tina Romero, Pablo Santos, Daniela Schmidt, Jessica Valdes.

More Film

  • Contract Placeholder Business

    Hollywood Agents Blast Writers Guild Over New Proposals

    The war between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agents has escalated as the two sides battle over the rules on how writers are represented. The latest volley emerged Friday from Karen Stuart, president of the Association of Talent Agents, who accused WGA leaders of misleading its members and asserted that the guild leaders [...]

  • Xavier Legrand Custody

    Cesar Awards: Xavier Legrand’s ‘Custody’ Wins Best Film

    Xavier Legrand’s feature debut “Custody,” a tense portrait of a family torn by domestic violence, won best film, actress (for Lea Drucker), and original screenplay at the 44th Cesar Awards, which took place at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The awards are France’s highest film honors. “Custody,” which marks Legrand’s follow up to his Oscar-nominated [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Tessa Thompson Nnamdi Asomugha

    Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha to Star in 'Sylvie'

    Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha are set to star in the feature film “Sylvie.” Eugene Ashe has written the screenplay and will direct with production currently underway. The film is described as a love story set in the cool jazz era of New York City in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s. Sylvie (played by Thompson) meets aspiring [...]

  • Night Fury dragon Toothless and Hiccup

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Soaring to $50 Million-Plus Launch

    “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is soaring toward a $53 million launch weekend at 4,259 North American locations, early estimates showed on Friday. That estimate is well above Universal’s forecast in the $40 million range at 4,259 sites — and ahead of its predecessors, 2010’s “How to Train Your Dragon,” which made [...]

  • Actors With Disabilities Deserve a Hollywood

    Dreaming of a Hollywood Ending for Actors With Disabilities (Guest Column)

    Picture a world in which an actor with a disability wins an Academy Award. Sadly, that storyline remains no more than a Hollywood fantasy. In recent years, the #OscarsSoWhite trending hashtag campaign has shed light on the lack of diversity in the movie industry. Yet ahead of this year’s Oscars on Feb. 24, society’s definition [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content