Monday, June 6, 2016

Ma Ma (SIFF 2016) - Movie Review

Ma Ma is an emotional drama starring Penelope Cruz about a woman in Spain who struggles to cope with being diagnosed with  breast cancer while helping a new found friend who is going through a tragedy of his own. The film was written and directed by Julio Medem and also featured acting performances by Luis Tosar, Asier Etxeandia, Teo Planell, and Anna Jiménez.

Ma Ma, an official selection of the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival, is currently playing at the Sundance Cinemas in Seattle. For other locations and more info, visit the film's official website.

The Review:
Prior to this film, Julio Medem has been most known for creating the beautiful film Sex and Lucia which features a career defining performance from Paz Vega. I would say Ma Ma is his best work since then as it tells a very powerful and emotional story and Penelope Cruz is also pretty amazing in her role as Magda. The story is very well written, doesn't pull any punched with the subject matter, and is filled with emotion and carefully crafted dialog. What I like most is how Medem fills the narrative with a sort of whimsical quality that is just sort of there as an undercurrent to keep things from ever getting too dark or serious.

While Penelope Cruz is clearly the star of the show, we also get really honest and strong performances from Luis Tosar and Asier Etxeandia who play Magda's love interest and gynecologist respectively. The two characters are key to helping Magda in her struggle over the course of the movie yet their performances offer a much needed emotional balance and foundation for Cruz to show her character's strength and resolve as she fights her way through. This is definitely not a fairy tale type movie, these are things real people go through every day around the world and both the director and the cast treat every moment with the utmost respect and honesty.

The Verdict:
Ma Ma is a beautifully crafted film filled with wonderful performances that will draw you in as if you are right there living each moment. Julio Medem has created a perfectly touching and inspiring love letter to all the women and families who struggle with these types of life and death decisions. If you're ready for a bit of a tear jerker or just want to see a very well made film, then I would definitely recommend checking this one out.

Check out all of my reviews and coverage for the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival HERE!


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