As with 20 CENTIMETERS, the spirit of Pedro Almodóvar hangs
over QUEENS (REINAS), a comedy set on the eve of legalized gay
marriage in Spain. Why do I say this? Well, director Manuel
Gómez Pereira has cast the film with several veterans of Almodóvar's
films, including Marisa Paredes, Carmen Maura, Veronica Forqué
and Lluís Homar, to mention a few. In addition, Gómez Pereira (who
collaborated on the screenplay with Yolanda García Serrano and
Joaquín Oristrell, the writer-director of the 2005 NewFest entry
UNCONSCIOUS/INCONSCIENTES) makes sly references to his
obvious forbearer via some witty dialogue and bright colors in the design.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around the plans of three gay male
couples and their mothers who take center stage. Reyes (Paredes) is
an egotistical film star who is more upset that her son has taken up with
the son of her gardener (Homer) than that he is gay. Ofelia (Betiana Blum)
has arrived from Argentina not only with her dog but with enough luggage
for a year's stay (which should be a red flag for her son). Her presence
and that of the dog put a strain on the relationship of her son (Daniel
Hendler) and his lover Miguel (Unax Ugalde). Magda (Maura) is the
owner of the hotel where a massive reception is to occur, but she's
more interested in quelling a possible strike by the hotel workers. Helena
(Mercedes Sampietro) is a judge opposed to the idea of gay marriage
who is being pressured to preside at the ceremony. And lastly, there's
Nuria (Forqué), a promiscuous woman who comes to threaten her son's
union with an indiscretion.
The film's storylines veer from sitcom to soap opera and are
serviceable as a showcase for the five glorious actresses -- all of whom
are over 50. The supporting cast is adequate and some of the "twists"
are telegraphed by the writing, but QUEENS was made with so much
verve and skill that one can overlook the flaws and enjoy it.
Rating: B +
|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.