Anyone who’s familiar with Mexican cinema (or TV shows for that matter,) knows who Cantinflas was, but not many people know the real story behind the character. This movie, directed by Sebastián del Amo, tells the sentimental story about an actor who began his career in a most unlikely way: sweeping the stages of ambulatory theatres or “carpas” as they called them in Mexico back in the day. Mario Moreno wasn’t looking for much, but if he had to be a boxer or a bullfighter to earn a living, he was always willing to try. With this film we get to see how he found a gift within himself, what he did with it and how it landed him in Hollywood.
Mario Moreno ‘Cantinflas’ became one of the greatest, most beloved comedians in Mexico and there was a lot of controversy about having a Spaniard (Óscar Jaenada,) play the icon. Fortunately he did not disappoint, the actor worked very hard on making sure his performance was as real and as brilliant as it was. Other members of the cast deliver great performances like Luis Gerardo Méndez (Estanislao, Mario Moreno’s brother in law), and Ilse Salas (Valentina, Mario Moreno’s wife) and some were questionable choices like Barbara Mori as Elizabeth Taylor. (LOL)
The movie’s sparked a lot of controversy around it since Mario Moreno is the real discovery here. Yet people are complaining that we don’t get to see many sides of the actor. It is clearly implied that he was very political and “for the people,” because “he was the people, and always would be” but he did make movies on demand for the networks ran by the same government who was as corrupt as they get. In fact, the way it’s presented in the film, the actors political inclinations are somewhat ambiguous, if not glorified. The cinematography and music fill the movie with nostalgia for a Mexico full of color, folklore, and pride, despite its political times. Moviegoers will surely enjoy getting to know what’s behind the legend and the sacrifices that came from devoting a life to a single, beloved character: ‘Cantinflas.’
Where is my Maria Felix movie, though?