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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Francesca

Spanglish: A 2004 Dramedy Worth Taking Another Look At in 2019

Updated: Mar 20, 2020

Opening Statement: I hope to enlighten my readers on a short journey into my views! I plan to post every Sunday for the most part, excluding any spur of the moment ideas I may have or a busy schedule which may restrict me from posting that week. Thank you and enjoy!

I'd like to begin by mentioning that this post will be mostly spoiler-free in terms of details, but may still give away some of the concepts in the film. I encourage you to continue reading because I hope to intrigue you to watch (or rewatch) this film, so read on if you're interested!

An upbeat and comedic vibe pairs successfully with the deeper storylines and topics that make up the 2004 drama/comedy Spanglish. Adam Sandler, Paz Vega, Téa Leoni and Cloris Leachman put on great performances as they portray the lives of a wealthy family (Adam, Téa, and Cloris) and a struggling single mother trying to make a better life for her daughter (Paz Vega and Shelbie Bruce). This movie has a very sweet vibe on the surface, with a strong focus on differing cultures, language barriers, acceptance and more!

With the many social issues that are going on in this world currently, it may do us good to rewatch this 2004 dramedy to bring perspective into a reality where two cultures collide and form a bond. It is shown through this film that the process of accepting and understanding another culture, despite a language barrier, involves respect and a genuine effort to learn from each other.

Along with accepting cultural differences, another important social issue touched upon in this film is negative body image. The daughter (Sarah Steele) of John and Deborah Clasky (Sandler and Leoni)- the family who hires Flor Moreno (Vega) to be their housekeeper- deals with body image issues at a relatively young age. These issues are sparked by her mother's constant obsession with healthy eating and working out, which then trickles down into her daughters self-esteem. With that said, the overall idea of good parenting and healthy relationships are also a big part of this film.

There is one specific scene toward the end where Sandler and Leoni have a discussion/argument that is so incredibly powerful and moving. The acting from both Sandler and Leoni is amazing, the lines are insanely intelligent and gut wrenching, and interestingly enough, there was no music in this scene, which for me, really proves that the acting and writing was so on point and captivating that "mood music" was not necessary. I will not go into further detail as to what the lines were, or the context of their argument for the sake of my readers who haven't seen it, but I must say once more, this scene is a work of art in my eyes. Adam Sandler's acting is particularly wonderful in this scene. He uses subtlety to his advantage in a scene where subtlety is not what would be expected. As a side note, I really enjoy movies with Adam Sandler in them, so this one was an easy pick for me off of Netflix! They play many movies with Sandler in them on TV every weekend, I think it would be amazing to throw this one into the mix one time!

Now, to focus more on film techniques rather than plot, I'd like to mention that there was one specific technique that I did not necessarily enjoy: the usage of zoom at moments that I felt were unnecessary. The zoom did not really give any purpose to the shot that it was used on most of the time. For me, zooming in on a shot symbolizes that what is happening is very important and therefore I want my audience to not only see that I am focusing in on what is happening, but to pull them in, just as the camera physically does when zooming in. The director may have liked that technique and found purpose in it, and that is really cool because everyone has their own preferences in the artistic process. Personally, it was not what I would have chosen, but I respect Brooks' choices! The story is rich and doesn't need special effects to add to it, but this still didn't deter my interest or appreciation for this film!

As for the ending, I really wanted more! I guess an ambiguous ending (sort of) was just what this film needed. It's funny because it starts off like a funny romantic film, but slowly changes as darker and deeper themes start to roll in. When it ends off on the question,"do you want to be someone other than me?"-said by Vega to her daughter- I was moved. The intensity of that question is insane and had me crying! To look up to your mother, as I do myself, and want to be a person just like her, is something that must be appreciated because a good mother, as this movie portrays, is not always guaranteed. Adam Sandler's character returns to his family and his responsibilities in the end, when he easily could have picked up and left after all that had gone down in the end, which is a very respectful move on his part. A selfless act for the sake of his family. Encouraging and sad at the same time, but a fine example of a strong father who puts his kids first, in my opinion. I also enjoyed that the movie doesn't come down to Sandler and Vega's love for each other, rather it closes with the power of a parent's love, especially between mother and daughter.

So if you are ever looking for a Netflix film to check out that'll make you laugh and cry and that is relatable to today's current events, then Spanglish is the one for you!

~Francesca Reviews

Disclaimer: All of my posts are based off of my own knowledge, opinion, and beliefs and this blog is only meant to be a platform to share those things with the world. I am always open to hear what you all have to say about the topics I write about, listening to many perspectives can only enhance my knowledge! Therefore, feel free to start a friendly conversation sharing your opinions! Thank you!

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