×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘So Much Water’

A divorced Uruguayan father takes his two kids on a rain-sodden vacation in this well-observed first feature

A divorced Uruguayan father takes his two kids on a rain-sodden vacation in “So Much Water,” a well-observed first feature from distaff helming duo Ana Guevara Pose and Leticia Jorge Romero. This deceptively ordinary tale has a warmly humanist eye for its characters and the three-way interaction among a firm but loving dad, his rebellious teen daughter and her kid brother, though the film’s p.o.v. unfortunately slides more toward one character as it progresses. “Water” recently won the Miami fest’s top prize and has theatrical potential in the Hispanosphere as well as cinephile cities such as Paris and, possibly, New York.

It’s raining cats and dogs before Alberto (Nestor Guzzini, “Gigante”), a corpulent chiropractor, and his children, 14-year-old Lucia (Malu Chouza) and 10-year-old Fede (Joaquin Castiglioni), have even arrived at the spartan bungalow where they’ll be spending the week. During the long trip by car and the first hours at the somewhat rundown resort — conveyed economically in just a few quick scenes — it’s clear that both kids, especially the unruly Lucia, don’t really want to be there, but are considered too young to have a say in the matter.

Much to the siblings’ dismay, their cabin hasn’t got a TV, and even Daddy’s desire to go to the pool can’t be satisfied, as an oncoming electric storm makes it dangerous to go near the water. Instead, they sit around indoors and occasionally drive to such exciting, kid-appropriate tourist attractions as a dam.

Popular on Variety

Pose and Romero, who also co-wrote the screenplay, are clearly more interested in the relationship dynamics than in the story per se, and in its relaxed realism and keen eye for the inner workings of a postmodern family, the film bears striking similarities to the recent work of Latin American helmers, such as Pablo Delgado Sanchez’s “The Tears.”

“Water” starts with Alberto, before he picks up the children at their mom’s house, and then expands to give roughly equal attention to the three family members as they interact with each other. One noteworthy scene features Lucia generously applying insect repellent to Alberto, which clearly telegraphs the mutual love underlying the occasional surface animosities. They also find local playmates, and even Dad meets a nice woman, to the chagrin of Lucia, who makes a priceless grimace when she discovers condoms in her father’s luggage.

The genial if strict divorced dad seems to genuinely want to spend time with his offspring, but he’s not the kind of play-it-cool parent who doesn’t set any rules. This obviously creates some friction, especially for the rebellious Lucia. Her ill-fated trip to a disco takes centerstage in the film’s closing reels, unfortunately pushing Alberto and especially Fede into the background, with the sudden swerve in focus creating a certain unevenness as the film draws to a close.

Acting is natural and low-key throughout, and the leads make for an entirely believable family with a shared history. Camerawork and tech credits are intentionally unobtrusive; Maximiliano Angelieri’s score is only sparingly used, a gentle audio reminder that this convincing drama isn’t a verite documentary.

So Much Water
Tanta agua
(Uruguay)

Reviewed at Guadalajara Film Festival (competing), March 5, 2013. (In Berlin Film Festival — Panorama; Miami Film Festival — competing.) Running time: 102 MIN.

A Control Z Films presentation and production, in association with Bonita Films, Topkapi Films, Komplizen Film, in association with ZDF, Arte. (International sales: Alpha Violet, Paris.) Produced by Agustina Chiarino, Fernando Epstein. Co-producers, Tania Zarak, Laurette Schillings, Frans van Gestel, Arnold Heslenfeld, Janine Jackowski, Jonas Dornbach, Maren Ade.

Directed, written by Ana Guevara Pose, Leticia Jorge Romero. Camera (color, HD), Maria Jose Secco; editor, Guevara Pose, Jorge Romero, Yibran Asuad; music, Maximiliano Angelieri; art director, Nicole Davrieux; costume designer, Valentina Luque; sound (Dolby Digital), Daniel Yafalian; line producer, Florencia Chao; assistant director, Diego Ferrando Mazzotti.

With: Nestor Guzzini, Malu Chouza, Joaquin Castiglioni, Sofia Azambuya, Pedro Duarte, Andres Zunini, Romina Rocca, Valentino Muffolini.

Film Review: 'So Much Water'

More Film

  • Li Shaohong

    Li Shaohong Revisits Macao and Chinese War Films

    Fifth generation director Li Shaohong’s career has spanned the entire length of the Chinese film market’s rise, from its days as a state-run industry churning out nothing but social realist films to its current stage of supporting ever more sophisticated and lucrative blockbusters and genre films. The current head of the China Film Directors’ Guild, [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Johnny Ma on the Dynamics of New Era Film Production in China

    Shanghai-born Canadian filmmaker Johnny Ma says he’d planned to make three films in China before moving on to other things, but the current state of the Chinese industry has “forced his hand” and convinced him to move on early after two. Currently living in Mexico, his next project is actually in TV: a pilot for [...]

  • 'Wonder Woman 1984' Trailer: Gal Gadot

    'Wonder Woman 1984' Trailer: Gal Gadot Returns With Pedro Pascal, Kristen Wiig

    “Wonder Woman 1984” dropped its first trailer on Sunday, with Gal Gadot returning as the titular Amazonian goddess. The film is set, of course, in the 1980s in America, decades after the first film’s events. Kristen Wiig is playing Wonder Woman’s infamous comic-book nemesis Cheetah, while Chris Pine is returning for the sequel. It’s unclear, [...]

  • Over the Sea

    Macao Film Review: 'Over the Sea'

    The beginning is a fairy tale, or a nursery rhyme. A woman nurses her squalling baby in a house by an orchard near the sea. Sunlight slants in through the open windows, the mother hums a lullaby, and then brings her son outside and places him in a cot suspended from the apple-laden branches of [...]

  • CCA Film Nominations

    Critics' Choice: 'The Irishman,' 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Lead Movie Nominations

    “The Irishman” has picked up the most film nominations for the 35th annual Critics’ Choice Awards. The Martin Scorsese gangster drama goes into the awards show with 14 noms, including best picture, director, acting ensemble as well as best actor (Robert De Niro) and supporting actor (Al Pacino and Joe Pesci), the Critics’ Choice Association [...]

  • Parasite

    'Parasite' Named Best Film of 2019 by L.A. Film Critics Association

    Hollywood’s hometown critics clearly aren’t afraid of subtitles. Members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. met Sunday to vote on the year’s best cinema accomplishments. South Korean thriller “Parasite” fared the best, taking not only best picture, but also the group’s director prize for Bong Joon Ho and supporting actor for Song Kang Ho. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content