April 13, 2012

Happy Friday. I forget the calendar date. Nice day here, with some overhead clouds, but none below us. Temp started out at 32 degrees but will rise no doubt, leading to more slush in my driveway.

Yokelly, we watched the movie Spanglish (2004) with Adam Sandler and Paz Vega. Sandler is a chef with a good income who has two kids and a controlling wife who is pretty hyper. Enter Flor the housekeeper/nanny, an illegal immigrant whose daughter is about the same age as the bosses’ daughter. Flor speaks almost no English (not likely since she has been in the country for several years per the plot), so part of the film is the difficulties of translation. Flor’s daughter Cristina is bilingual and often has to translate between her mother and the rich parents. Meanwhile rich Mom takes a liking to Cristina, who is much more conventionally pretty than her own daughter Bernice, and does some pretty inappropriate things with Cristina without checking with Flor, who is a very principled single parent. This leads Flor to stand up for her principles against the rich mom, raising admiration in the rich dad.

The story highlights cultural differences between Anglo and Hispanic, rich and poor in a variety of ways but manages to be pretty entertaining at the same time. Naturally chef dad falls in love with single-mom Flor, while his hyper wife has a fling with a real estate guy, endangering their marriage. Dad looks prepared to chuck it and take up with Flor, but her principles (she is Catholic, does not believe in divorce, and wants to set a good example for her daughter) make that impossible. So the film leaves the rich couple in need of major emotional repairs while Flor and Cristina move on. The voice-over beginning and end is of Cristina’s voice reading her college admissions essay about the most important person in her life, her mom. All in all, a pretty cute movie with good laughs and some good social comment. “Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and brief language.” Ebert gave it 3 stars out of 4.

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