Monday, October 3, 2011

2011 MFF Film #22 - Miss Tacuarembo

Uruguay/Argentina/Spain, 2010
Spanish with English subtitles
Director: Martin Sastre

Natalia is a 30 year old woman who is chasing her dream of being a singer, but her reality is that she is an entertainer at a failing Catholic theme park.  She works there with her best friend of more than 20 years, Carlos, who shares her dream and always has been her biggest fan.  She finally gets her chance at national stardom, but it comes with strings attached that bring up a past that threatens her success.

Miss Tacuarembo is a strange but somewhat entertaining film, and during its best moments, it's reminiscent of the 2001 French film Amelie.  Unfortunately, those moments are too rare, and the majority of the film is more like Strictly Ballroom, with corny comedy, flashy dance numbers and some characters that are obscenely overacted.  Walking into the film, I heard someone describe it as "like an Almodovar film, only really Catholic."  The Catholic thing I get, but the only comparisons I could see to Almodovar, one of my favorite contemporary directors, was Sastre's use of Rossy de Palma, one of Almodovar's go-to actresses, and the fact that the film was in Spanish.

The majority of the film is spent in flashback, and these scenes were sometimes cute, but the musical numbers were odd and out of place and didn't have the charm of most musicals - it seemed kind of force.  As a whole, Miss Tacuarembo was entertaining enough, well paced and had a charming lead, but it really was just average, story-wise and overall, nothing spectacular.

MFF Ballot Rating: 3 out of 5

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