Star rating – 6/10
This is a Mexican teenage love and angst movie from Gerardo Naranjo, with Gael Garcia Bernal as one if its executive producers. The story is told from the perspective of 15 year old Maru, impressively played by Maria Deschamps. She is disaffected at school and clearly feels on the margins of her fellow pupils. So when Roman, (Juan Pablo de Santiago), the son of a right wing politician, gets kicked out of his private school and comes to Maru’s, it is clear that they are quickly going to find each other.
Neither are very happy. Roman has been understandably very troubled since the car crash in which is mother is killed, caused by his father’s drunk driving. His father, and his new stepmother are not really interested in Roman, so he goes off the rails. It is not as clear why Maru feels so alienated, but she immediately views Roman as a kindred spirit when she sees him fake his own hanging in a school production, to the understandable shock of the rest of the school.
They quickly decide to run away – but only get as far as a tent on the roof of his father’s expensive apartment. They steal provisions when the coast is clear, and whilst they are alone, their first fumbling sexual encounters begin. The relationship between them is nicely told – with Maru in turns encouraging then rejecting Roman’s advances in her nervousness and naivety. Eventually they get further than the roof, and steal a car to make a more conventional getaway.
The central characters are likeable and engaging, although the story is a bit meandering, and would have benefited from a sharper plot line. Roman’s father and step mother are cold and selfish. He clearly just needs a bit of affection and understanding, and so does not really have a clear idea of what they will do if they succeed in their escape plan.
And of course there is no happy ending. Just a good, if a bit of a wayward story, compellingly played by two promising, and beautiful, young actors.