Anything You Want (2010)

ACHERO MANAS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB

Original title:  Todo Lo Que Tu Quieras

Spain, 2010.  Bellatrix Films S.L., Instituto de Crédito Oficial, Ministerio de Cultura, Televisión Española, Todo lo que tú quieras A.I.E..  Screenplay by Achero Manas.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

‘s wife dies without warning and leaves him alone with their four year-old daughter, who is unable to understand the fact that her mother is not coming back. A family court lawyer who can no longer deal with his sphere of law and moves to a private firm, Botto is devastated by the loss, taking up comfort in the arms of an old girlfriend (a bewitching ) and desperate to find a way to get through to his little girl. After she jokingly asks him, one night, to put on mommy’s lipstick and he, whimsically, indulges, Botto discovers that the way to make his child happy is to become her mother, by putting on a wig and makeup and his late wife’s clothing. When this gets to the point where he is actually impersonating the woman even outside the house, the danger of a judgmental world threatens him in multiple ways.

Achero Mañas’ film means to be a sensitive portrayal of grief and healing but is really just a big old mess without much depth: Botto does a fine job of being emotionally available for all the film’s most tender moments, but Mañas is determined to ignore the fact that Botto’s indulgence is well-intentioned but a little bit creepy. He’s convincing his little girl that her mother is still alive, and that kind of mindplay is dangerous enough to make me question his fitness as a parent as it would anybody else. Wherever this man goes he is treated like a freak for wearing a wig and makeup (as if that’s never been seen by a motel owner before, in one instance), and the film ridiculously focuses on the victimization of a cross-dresser (who isn’t really a cross-dresser given that his clothing doesn’t significantly change) instead of what it should be zeroing in on: Botto needs to impersonate his wife in order to overcome his grief as much as his daughter does, and the film never makes him face it.

Toronto International Film Festival:  2010

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