How would you get over a failed relationship? What would you do if your fiance suddenly decides to leave the altar and rekindle with her ‘soulmate’? While the idea is cliched itself, the makers decided to create a two-hour-long film based on the same. With such an introduction to the film, they insert his mother’s character as a quirky plot device for him to get over his misery. The honeymoon that he was going to be on with his wife gets turned into an awkward trip with his mother. ‘Honeymoon with my Mother’ stretches this schtick for an incredibly long duration and takes itself only as seriously as we’re supposed to take it.
The film, directed by Paco Caballero, was released this weekend on Netflix. It stars Quim Gutiérrez, Carmen Machi in the lead roles with the supporting cast of Justina Bustos, Andrés Velencoso, Dominique Guillo, Yolanda Ramos among others. After watching about a two-hour duration of drama unfold on the screen, all I could think of was it as a silly comedy-drama that tries to build a tale with very little substance and rides on the wave of conventional tropes. It works with an uninventive setup and the script does not try to dig deeper into the psyches either to uncover something new and exciting. What we witness is drivel, which may charm a few, but remains to be largely forgettable.
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Recently, I was watching the popular screenwriter Aaron Sorkin being interviewed by a reporter. Sorkin was speaking about his process of writing. He mentioned what matters to him while writing a script are characters standing up against formidable conflicts, which create fruitful results. This is the basic equation he uses to invent drama, and it is the one that was being used since the time of Aristotle. Now let’s look at the film at our hand. The protagonist of ‘Honeymoon with my mother’ – José Luis is left at his alter by his about-to-be wife. He is a character we instantaneously feel pity for due to how alone how would be and how embarrassed he would be in such a situation. It may also have an angle of empathy, where we would see ourselves being in his shoes, left on our own, just like him.
The conflict in front of him is non-existent. His mother is hell-bent on trying to cheer him up – to uplift his spirits – to make him forget about the unfortunate incident that occurred in his life. While his character arc builds on the hope of being content by himself – not trying to rely on anyone for the fulfillment, his mother’s character arc is filled with a lust for life. She is a middle-aged woman and a mother of a 30-year-old person. But her personality hardly feels as old as what we see on the paper. She is lively, colorful, and consistently seeks adventure without trying to attach sentiments. She lives in the moment unlike him, who sulks on a miserable past or an uncertain future.
While all of this sounds sweet and merry, the tale of the dynamic between a mother and a child hardly blossoms into something substantial, something unforgettable. It falls in the same-old patterns of showcasing rejuvenation and its life-affirming message is done to death to make any lasting impact. There is very little redeemable about the film, where passing certain intervals of time from the movie within fractions of seconds would do you no disservice. Be it the narrative or the narration, everything follows a conventional formula that makes it considerably boring.
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The cinematography achieves a fun and lively mood with its bright, fresh tones that make the film feel aesthetically pleasing. Yet, isn’t that the bare minimum a film needs to achieve from a comedy? Can the subversion, be it in terms of content or form, only supposed to be done by a few selected people? The film kept making me think about such questions and introspect how important their careful build-up is important for effective, timeless storytelling. What ‘Honeymoon with my mother’ remains to be is a sweet comic escape from the everyday lives of the viewers, it has a life just of its duration. If we’re talking about a guy with first-world problems, we should ideally try to at least find the intricacies within or put them in a larger context. The film sadly does nothing in that direction and adds to the pile of low-effort cinematic works.
Stream Honeymoon with my Mother on Netflix