Marc Evans (My Little Eye) has the directorial reigns here; taking the viewer on a intriguing journey that plays out the lives of two women, at very different stages – an old lady’s quest to find the birthplace of her mother and the relationship of a young couple, still treading the early complicated waters of their potential life together.
Evans is a marvel behind the camera. As the parallel journeys play out, the screen is filled with stunning panoramic landscapes that lend themselves as a beautifully artistic backdrop. The contrast between the harsh farmland desert of Patagonia, against the sweeping valleys of deepest darkest Wales act as striking mood ring for the movie. The stark Patagonian desert is a lonely, confusing place that overwhelms Matthew Gravalle and Nia Roberts travelling troubled couple as their tour guide (the brilliant Matthew Rhys) becomes increasingly involved in their relationship. Whereas, the rolling warm green hills of Wales, merge wonderfully with the smiling elderly Cerys’ (Marta Lubos) journey as her senses bring her to the comforting embrace that is her mother’s roots.
Also in tow is pop-star Duffy, who embarks on her impressive silver screen debut; dazzling with teasing subtlety, familiar beauty and all whilst speaking in fluent Spanish. Not bad for a first attempt, I think you’d agree. Similarly, the charming Alejandro (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) slowly unfolds from a young unsociable teenager to a funny, likeable South American Craig Roberts; as he meets and falls for Duffy’s free spirited Sissy. A love story that would’ve been greatly welcomed with more screen time.
Whilst Evans does more than a great job on the travelling couple’s plight, as their relationship rusts to crack and peel away in the Argentinean heat; the heartwarming bond between aging Cerys and young Alejandro as they navigate Wales with just a suitcase, a loose understanding of English and public transport, was a lot more enjoyable to watch. They’re a fantastically cast oddball pairing, who aren’t even related – just a trusting family friend neighbour and the sweet boy next door as her rock to lean on…they’re everything Steptoe and Son could’ve been.
What sits comfortably within this film is the simple blend of two culture’s, that mix to give the viewer a warm cup of cinematic-hug. Not to say that it doesn’t deal with serious and, at times, upsetting subjects; but Evans’ attempt to portray a glimpse into the history of the 19th century emigration of Welsh settlers to Patagonia in Argentina, is one of bold cinematography and unavoidably likeable characters that leaves one wanting more than a snapshot into their lives.