Take My Eyes

"Very Good"

Take My Eyes Review


It's a difficult charge to make a film about the struggle of someone we are supposed to hate off the bat. When Dylan Baker and Kevin Bacon stepped up to the plate to play pedophiles attempting to stop their habits, there was much flak. The idea for most is that these people are not well (or filled with the Devil, in secular terms) and therefore, we shouldn't try to see the humanity in them. It's not a healthy mindset, but it's the popular belief. Spousal abuse has been weeded out in the social eye but it still goes on all the time, it has just turned into mental abuse instead of physical (for the most part). So, you have to come prepared to Take My Eyes, for it is a film about trying to understand a man who beats his wife and a wife who believes in the goodness in him.

We meet Pilar (Laia Marull) as she is grabbing her child, clothes, and a few belongings. She escapes to her sister's house, who quickly understands the problem: Pilar's husband, Antonio (Luis Tosar). Pilar's sister, Ana (Candela Peña), confronts Antonio when he comes home to find his wife and son gone and his sister-in-law packing up some remaining items. Antonio tries to get back with Pilar and begins to go to group therapy for spousal abuse. Soon enough, they are back together, much to the chagrin of Ana. At first, their restarted life is full of passion and love, just like when they were dating. Pilar takes a job as an art museum tour guide and cashier with her friends Rosa and Lola (Kiti Manver and Elisabet Gelabert, respectively) and Antonio attempts to find the roots of his anger. Soon enough, however, Antonio's anger begins to show its ugly head.

The film radiates a strong fascination, powered by the complex mission of trying to understand Antonio. In the sessions with his psychologist and the group meetings, Antonio shows a real wanting to move forward and work on his problem, while the others goof off and tell horror stories about "no dinner on the table." It's dazzlingly authentic and Tosar handles the complex layers of Antonio's psyche with unyielding power. Marull is his challenge-meeting equal, not shying away from the scared rabbit that Antonio's intense physical and emotional battering has turned her into. In the film's strongest scene, we see Antonio's rage released, stripping Pilar down to only a bra and shoving her onto the porch for the neighborhood to see. What makes it so scary is that we've seen Antonio be balanced and attempt to change. He's not the evil-incarnate husband from Enough, but rather a real human being who hates himself and releases his insecurities by putting them on Pilar.

Take My Eyes won the Goya in 2004 (the Spanish version of the Academy Awards). It's interesting to see the differences in what the different countries award in excellence. While we pick sweeping multi-narrative social statements like Crash, they give it to quietly devastating character studies like this and the upcoming The Secret Life of Words. The film does deliver social commentary but in a way that we rarely see here in the states. Instead of trying to take on the issue in mass, director Icíar Bollaín looks at a situation that sees the problem with honest eyes, not trying to push an answer or agenda, just trying to find the keys to the characters and the story. These kinds of films are hard to keep out of your mind.

Aka Te doy mis ojos.



Take My Eyes

Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th October 2003

Distributed by: New Yorker Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Fresh: 30 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Icíar Bollaín

Producer: Santiago Garcia de Leániz

Starring: Laia Marull as Pilar, as Antonio, as Ana, as Aurora, Kiti Manver as Rosa, Elisabet Gelabert as Lola, Nicolás Fernández Luna as Juan, David Mooney as John, Chus Gutiérrez as Raquel, Elena Irureta as Carmen

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman reunite with The Switch directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck...

Snowden Movie Review

Snowden Movie Review

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed...

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

This true story from 19th century America feels eerily relevant today in its depiction of...

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Advertisement
Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.