Life According to Muriel

LIFE ACCORDING TO MURIEL
(LA VIDA SEGUN MURIEL) 1997

Director: Eduardo Milewicz

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Depressed & angry, an abandoned young mother, Laura (Soledad Villamil), takes her nine year old daughter Muriel (Florencia Camiletti) on a road trip, seeking an idyllic country place that may exist only in a hopeful memory of youth in the lake region of Patagonia. Through ineptitude her car goes over a cliff into a deep lake, losing everything she & her daughter owns, including a jar full of Laura's life savings.

On a stormy night Muriel & her mom come to the door of a run-down lakeside bed & breakfast, wherein another depressed mother, Mirta (Ines Estevez) with her children, seems to be in a holding pattern not living life, awaiting the return of a husband who went off to the Buenos Aires looking for work, never to be heard from again.

She insists the "hotel" is full & turns Laura & Muriel out into the storm without even a car to shelter in, but she's not completely heartless & when Laura grovels rather than demands, they're allowed inside.

This is not a story of plot but of character, & it's a right good one. At first Mirta & Laura barely get along & Mirta wants Laura & Muriel to be gone as soon as some way can be found to get their car out of the lake, within a week at longest.

But soon Mirta seems actually to have a crush on Laura & the film hints of the possibility of forging a new kind of family life, restoring the run-down bed & breakfast & living the idyllic country life Laura has dreamed of. But then Muriel's father (Gonzalo Salama) comes back into the picture broadening Laura's options, & the fellow (Federico Olivera) who is secretly in love with Mirta has his unsettling story to be told as well.

There are no big events in this film, just people trying to make sense of their own lives & longing for a modicum of happiness to spite the odds. It's a very small, very lovely film.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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