Though initially a Spanish production, Martin Sheen provides the vocals for our protagonist Emilio for the English language version, an elderly man struggling with a mild form of alzheimer’s disease. Emilio is checked in at a care facility by his son Juan (Matthew Modine), where he room shares with the devious figure Miguel (George Coe), who manipulates the other residents with his shady antics, making a neat profit in the process. As Emilio begins to settle, it soon transpires that his condition is worsening, working as a catalyst to delve into his past, as well as what the future may hold for him.
Ferreras presents his film with such sincerity, while it’s simply fascinating to see the world from the perspective of a man battling alzheimer’s disease. To get inside the head of somebody going through such an ordeal, makes for a moving and poignant experience. There’s a sense of unpredictability to proceedings too, a volatility of sorts as you’re never quite sure what’s actually happening, or what’s a symptom of the heartbreaking condition. The filmmaker ensures the film is not overly sentimental or heavy going though, as the more profound, disquieting moments come in waves. Wrinkles generally remains at a steady pace, and then occasionally dips into quite upsetting issues, working as a gentle reminder of the severity of the situation.
Though exposed to the English language version, a world cinema minimalism remains prevalent, enhanced by the fact the setting and character names reflect the original production, maintaining that art house atmosphere, which would have felt compromised had the film moved setting to the US, for instance. Sheen makes for something of an apathetic lead, perhaps lacking in that emotional conviction. However while that’s usually a misgiving, it suits the nature of the role, as although Emilio is our entry point, he remains a cipher of sorts, working as a vessel to peer into this whole world that exists. Many people have elderly relatives in facilities such as this one, and this takes a candid view into what goes on outside of visiting hours.
There’s a light touch to proceedings too in how the residents are depicted, with a comedic tone deriving from their incapability, though never ridiculing. Similarly to Father Ted’s renowned over 75s football tournament. They’re all so human too, and although we sympathise with their plight, they are flawed creations, like Miguel. Though vulnerable, he is a deceitful manipulator, to highlight the fact that these characters aren’t all painted out to be saints. One of many factors which makes this charming production such a poignant and tender piece, and one that is bound to move and compel you – while remaining so effortlessly subtle throughout.