Two years ago a film premiered at Sundance and would go on to make history. CODA opened at Sundance 2021 flooring audiences around the world and over a year later it culminated its incredible run by celebrating a Best Picture win at the Academy Awards.
The feel good film won over everyone’s hearts as it followed a sweet young student who with the help of a caring teacher and a solid support system learned to break away from her family and do something great. It was a beautiful story that won over audiences and became one that Sundance will remember forever.
Radical premiered opening night in Park City’s largest theater and audiences were swept off their feet with one of the most touching, sweet films of the past few years. And much like CODA, the success is largely attributed to an amazing performance by a teacher, portrayed by Eugenio Derbez.
Like other films like Dead Poet’s Society and Dangerous Minds, Radical explores the importance of teaching and how much impact a caring soul can have on the future of this world.
Radical is based off the true story of a teacher in Metamoros, Mexico named Sergio. Derbez is a revelation as Sergio who serves as a lifeline to over 20 young students. Sergio mysteriously appears in the middle of the year and enters the kid’s lives with a very non-conventional teaching method.
Derbez is met with hesitance and a whole lot of reluctance. But in time and with much persistence he wins the students over and especially the audience watching.
Director Christopher Zalla does a masterful job of capturing the anguish and turmoil of Metamoros. The violence, corruption, and unrest is just part of the daily routine and makes it so clear how much the deck is stacked against these kids.
Zalla also pulls mesmerizing performance from his very young cast, each child actor is fantastic in exploring the depths and bringing to life these incredible souls.
The two hour run time flies by as you connect to each and every student and you can’t help but fall in love with Derbez’s performance.
Radical is a certainty to go down as one of the favorites of the 2023 edition of Sundance. It is as equally heartwarming as it is profound in its reason for existing.
With a proper release this should be a major hit.