Chico & Rita (M)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner19/11/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

Beautifully animated, impressively directed and powerfully emotional romantic drama with superb performances, a strong script and a terrific soundtrack.

What's it all about?
Co-directed by Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal and Tono Errando, Chico & Rita is an animated love story that opens in present day Cuba, as elderly shoeshine man Chico (Eman Xor Ona, with songs by Bebo Valdes) hears a song on the radio and thinks back over the events of his life. His story begins in 1948 Havana, when Chico meets beautiful singer Rita (Limara Meneses, with songs by Idania Valdes) while working as a jazz pianist.

Chico and Rita fall madly in love and begin an intense affair, but their happiness is interrupted by the untimely arrival of a woman from Chico's past and, after a fight, Rita accepts a job opportunity in America and leaves for New York. While Rita becomes a big star, Chico also finds success in America and their paths are destined to cross several times over the next 50 years.

The Good
2010 has been quite the year for highbrow animated features and Chico & Rita is more than worthy of a place alongside the likes of Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist or Tomm Moore's The Secret of Kells. The hand-drawn animation is utterly gorgeous throughout, with strong use of colour and impressive attention to detail.

The script is excellent, ensuring that the focus remains on the two central characters even while historical events swirl around them. The performances are equally good, with both Ona and Meneses creating believably flawed characters that feel authentic and real; this is helped by a refreshingly adult feel to the animation, which includes nudity, sex and violence.

The Great
On top of that, the film has a terrific soundtrack that's a treat for anyone with an interest in Latin-influenced jazz music; accordingly, there are a series of delightful animated cameos from the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Tito Puente and Nat King Cole (voiced by his brother Freddy).

Worth seeing?
Hugely enjoyable and powerfully emotional, this is a beautifully animated romantic drama with a strong script and a terrific soundtrack. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Chico & Rita (M)
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Content updated: 20/09/2019 05:47

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