Love is more important than honor in Grandfather.
Russell Fanelli | Longmeadow, MA USA | 08/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was only by accident that I happened to see this fine film. It did not take long for me to realize my good fortune. An elderly Spanish count wants to determine which of two young sisters is his legitimate grandchild. Both of the girls are beautiful and talented and love and care for their grandfather, who is a kind of modern day Don Quixote. He is a hard man to deal with and makes life difficult for family and friends; rightfully so, I might add. The Count values honor above all and this leads him astray as he tries to discover which of the girls has his blood. We are as much in the dark about this problem as the Count and we watch closely as he observes the girls and forms his opinion. Both the viewer and the Count learn that love is more important and powerful than honor in the powerful conclusion to this film. All the loose ends, and there are many of them, come together in a moving and satisfying conclusion.The discovery of the Counts true grandchild is the mystery at the heart of Grandfather, but many other subplots make this a very long film to watch. Even so, the acting is so good and the story so compelling that I was sorry when the film finally ended. This movie deserves a wider audience and I hope this review serves that end."
Gorgeous Film Captures Human Quirks and depths of love
Infinite Catalyst | Monument, CO | 01/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm 23. I like electronica, movies with killer special effects, and far out theories on quantum mechanics. This movie is a placid drama that follows the lives of a group of eccentric family members and their immediate friends across the Spanish Countryside.
How could I like this film? Allow me to explain.
Without telling you too much about the film in specifics, it's a tale of beautiful foreign influences on family, morality, psychological healing, and the human presence of compassion. It's as far removed from an American Daytime soap as possible.
The music in the film compliments the breathtaking Spanish countryside in a quaintly eclectic fashion. Two recurring aural themes are Erik Satie's Gymnopedie and Edward Elgar's Nimrod.
The protagonist, an aging man who enters into the lives of his two granddaughters as they undergo the uprooting form their country home, is a man filled with wisdom and simultaneously passion and ferocity. He interacts with youth in a most refreshing fashion, embracing the slipping of emotion reason in his mind, yet holding onto the wisdom years under the sun has taught him.
Plenty of scandal, plenty of plot twist and tasty trajectory, I wouldn't say it keeps you on the edge of your seat, but certainly washes you with beautiful countryside, delicate and effusive music, and brilliant psychology and dialogue between characters. In some ways it reminds me of the playful interplay between Dostoyevsky's characters in Brother's Karamazov.
There's a great showdown with monks, and town buffoons, and a great friendship is formed between the grandfather and his granddaughters' educational mentor. I laughed, almost cried during this film, and sincerely felt satisfied after the deep, meaningful moral ending.
A True Gem
Michael Layton | Palm Springs, CA United States | 12/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is a masterpeice of Spanish Literature made into film. With classic themes of Love, honor, family and pride this film is one everyone can relate to on some level. In addition the use of light in this film will take your breathe away. It is so vivid as to be like another actor in the scenes. I rented this film with little thought and came away astounded. Now I own it. So if you can watch one movie without a car chase or an explosion you ought to make it this one! What a gem!"
Love and Honor
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"EL ABUELO (The Grandfather) began as a 1954 novel by Benito Pérez Galdós and was adapted for the screen by writer/director José Luis Garci in 1998, a year when it was nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscar. It is a period piece of epic proportions, an immensely beautiful work both visually and emotionally, that assures the film's becoming a beloved standard in the cinematic library.
Don Rodrigo de Arista Potestad (Fernando Fernán Gómez, the brilliant Peruvian actor from such films as 'Butterfly', 'Belle Epoque', 'All About My Mother, etc) is a crusty old aristocrat who has been in America for the Gold Rush who returns to Spain (a small town of Jerusa) when his son dies. He concern is about a letter his son wrote to him that one of his two granddaughters was sired by another man, an artist, and the old man is determined to find out which one of the granddaughters should rightfully inherit is name and his money. He arrives to meet Dolly (Cristina Cruz) and Nelly (Cristina Cruz) and their beautiful mother Doña Lucrecia (Cayetana Guillén Cuervo), a woman who has survived emotional hardships but has generously favored the small town with gifts while giving her daughters in home schooling by the intelligent, sensitive Don Pío Coronado (Rafael Alonso) who has been forsaken by his own family. The once butler of the home Senén Corchado (Agustín González) has been freed to become an oily capitalist, eager to squander the family money.
Don Rodrigo (Abuelo) challenges the family to maintain the honor of his name, becomes fast friends with Don Pío, and the two set about to discover whether it is Dolly or Nelly that is the true bloodline granddaughter. The manner in which the investigation proceeds includes the warm relationship Abuelo forms with the girls, the way he decides the future of Lucrecia, and the bonding he forms with Pío. It is Pío who challenges Abuelo with the question of which is more important, honor or love, and it is this question that suffuses the resolution of the story with surprises and with extraordinary tenderness.
The actors are all superb with special kudos to Fernando Fernán Gómez and Rafael Alonso. The cinematography of the coastlines of Spain is breathtakingly beautiful and the manner in which Raúl Pérez Cubero frames his images glows. The original musical score is by Manuel Balboa whose love theme is hauntingly played by both piano and orchestra: the moments of music by Satie (Gymnopédie) and Elgar (the Nimrod variation from Enigma Variations) are beautifully performed by the Madrid Orchestra under the baton of Ángel Gil Ordóñez. The film is long (well over two hours) and there are some synchrony defects in the spoken soundtrack (?dubbing for the granddaughters' voices?), but these are minor flaws in an eloquently beautiful film. In Spanish with English subtitles. Grady Harp, February 07