A movie review of “The Film Critic”: This clever satire finds a film critic caught up in an emotional experience of the sort he despises seeing in movies, then further finds himself at the intersection of cinematic dreams and reality. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
Let’s get this out of the way: There are moments in the clever comedy “The Film Critic” that are uncomfortably familiar to anyone who has been reviewing movies for decades, especially during peak years of seeing several hundred films in often dreary circumstances.
In this ironic and often well-observed South American work by Hernán Guerschuny, the titular critic, Tellez (Rafael Spregelburd), is a solitary grump who spends too much time in a cramped screening room and largely socializing with other critics over talk about movies. His editor worries Tellez’s narrow taste in art-house films affects his objectivity about more commercial fare, and Tellez spends more time — rumpled in his corduroy jacket and unruly beard — observing life than participating in it.
A stereotype? Well, to an extent. But the caricature serves Guerschuny’s larger satire about a man who loses his detachment from the very thing he writes about and becomes — gasp — a character in his own story.
Movie Review ★★★
‘The Film Critic,’ with Rafael Spregelburd, Dolores Fonzi. Written and directed by Hernán Guerschuny. 98 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. In Spanish and French, with English subtitles. Grand Illusion, through Thursday.
In search of a new apartment, Tellez finds the perfect place only to discover a prior claim on it by Sofia (Dolores Fonzi). A mischievous sprite who keeps popping up, Sofia takes romantic interest in Tellez, a development as intentionally inexplicable as other romantic-comedy tropes that follow, including first-kiss fireworks (literally) and a quote from “Jerry Maguire.”
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Tellez finds himself immersed in the kind of Hollywood-dream-factory experience he despises, his emotions taking charge. But there are other meta-story elements in “The Film Critic” (Tellez’s romance with Sofia finds its way into a developing screenplay) that turn it into a Möbius strip, a seductive surface where reality and cinema twist into one.