Sunday, October 9, 2011

Elsa & Fred


Alfredo's (Manuel Alexandre) wife just died. With the help of his nagger of a daughter Cuca, he moves to a new apartment. His neighbor is Elsa (China Zorilla), an adventurous woman one year his senior, whom he describes as a "teenager trapped in an old woman's body". After getting introduced, Elsa pursues Fred and teaches him how to feel alive, doing crazy things he has never done before. They eventually become official, much to the disapproval of people around them, mainly their respective children.

Move over John Lloyd and Sarah, whoever said that romantic comedies are exclusive to actors of the younger generation? Elsa y Fred will make you laugh out loud, want to fall in love, and appreciate older people more. Aside from the love story you also get to witness the sad world of being old. But the message of the movie is clear. You don't have to be young to have fun!

Well, there is no winning against a story concerning old people. It does not matter if the movie is a comedy or a love story. Somehow there is something about watching a love story between two oldies that give the concept of love a different meaning. Even sweet nothings that would look really corny when done by normal couples would elicit a collective "Oooh" from the audience each time they are done by Alexandre and Zorilla onscreen. And that is another strength of this movie: the audience reaction.

Our sentiments were unanimous. Everyone inside the cinema was laughing and gasping for air at the same time. It's a good thing that everything is kept light. Otherwise, we would have also wept together. I would vote for this film for Audience Choice but it is no longer eligible, having won the said recognition a few years ago. That is why it is still included in the roster of films shown every year. And that is a good thing, because it is rare to see good comedies like this nowadays.

Zorilla is just so fun to watch onscreen, and she is so cute! Her mannerisms are epic, the stutter is cute, and her portrayal of Elsa is just plain enjoyment. This is a perfect match for Alexandre's subtle performance. His character is boring and always well organized. He meets a wacky woman and they end up to be a couple. Cute. It is like a Koreanovela starring old non-Korean actors. Why? Because the formula is almost the same. The guy is uptight. The girl has a couple of lose screws in the head. Perfect formula, always works. And then they cast old actors who do their jobs well. Ending? Brilliant film.

Another aspect I like, as already mentioned, is how everything is kept light. There are serious issues lingering underneath the surface but the melodramatic scenes are greatly outnumbered by the comic ones. Remember that this is a story about old people, so there would always be issues like death, sickness, and the sadness of being alone. And this film is truly laudable in that it gives you all that without leaving you too depressed.

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