Wednesday, May 3, 2017

[Review] Truman

This Spanish-Argentine dramedy has finally gotten a US release, and it's an absolute gem. Directed by Cesc Gay, Truman is as funny as it is emotional, and as sad as it is life-affirming.

Separated by an ocean, Tomás (Javier Cámara) pays a surprise visit to his estranged best friend Julian (the always great Ricardo Darin) to rekindle their bond. And that's when we learn that Julián has terminal cancer, and is forgoing any more treatment. Taking place over the course of four short days, the film sees Tomás stay by Julián's side as he makes final arrangements and such--one of which includes a quiet yet heartbreaking scene when he researches where to adopt out his beloved dog.

The poignant subject matter is handled with compassion and honesty, organically drawing emotion from the richness of the characters, their complicated relationships, and the difficulties and complexities of the somber circumstances. It's so refreshingly human, and it possesses a warm and chuckle-worthy sense of humor along the way. It's also a thorough and thoughtful examination on coping, and how the people around someone with cancer begin to act differently, for better or worse. Then there's the all-too-true factor of people not knowing what to say. Julián's character notices that many of his acquaintances deliberately avoid him altogether when they see him, as if he's walking death. But as Julián importantly states, a simple "Hello" makes all the difference.

Truman is superbly acted, terrifically written, and genuinely affecting. It's a testament of friendship and companionship that will most likely bring tears to your eyes. A heartfelt hola and a heartfelt adiós. Oh, and if you're wondering why it's titled Truman - well, that's the name of Julián's dog.

* 9/10 *

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