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Thursday, August 5, 2004

Movie: Valentin

Posted on Thu, Aug 5, 2004 at 4:00 AM

****
Valentin
Length: 1 hour, 26 minutes
Studio: Miramax
Website: http://www.miramax.com/valentin/index.html
Release Date: 2004-08-06
Cast: Rodrigo Noya,, Alejandro Agresti, Julieta Cardinali, Juan Cruz Bordeu, Carmen Maura
Director: Alejandro Agresti
Screenwriter: Alejandro Agresti
WorkNameSort: Valentin
Our Rating: 4.00

Screened for Central Florida critics a full 17 months ago, this foreign-language charmer wins our award for the longest-ever lag between a peekaboo sighting and legitimate play. The delay has worked to the movie's detriment in one respect: After Good Bye Lenin!, it's tougher to get excited at seeing another kid who wants to be an astronaut dealing with the heartbreak of an absentee dad (and tending to a sickly maternal figure, no less). Unfortunate comparisons aside, though, title tyke Valentin – a precocious Argentinean third-grader – is still an engaging character, a cross-eyed dreamer being raised by his grandmother and pining for his vanished mother. Searching for a suitable surrogate mama in his asshole father's unending parade of "serious" girlfriends, the kid learns some overdue lessons about love and family. If that doesn't seem like a big deal post-Lenin, remember: That movie had the decline of an entire political empire to play around with. But writer/director Alejandro Agresti proves adept at reminding us that everybody's heart is a nation-state unto itself.

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