Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) : a film by Alfonso Arau

When I was younger, I used to love Like Water for Chocolate—both the book and the film. It seemed such a sensual, magical, surreal delight. A tear drop ruins a wedding cake, a sister bursts into flames of passion, a mother haunts her youngest daughter, and all in the backdrop of exotic México. But I hadn’t seen the film since the mid-90s when I watched it again over the weekend, and it hasn’t aged well. For one, I remembered something that always disappointed me about the film, Tita’s preference for Pedro over Doctor Brown. Only instead of disappointing me, it irritated me to no end during this viewing. I wear glasses and I’m a bit nerdy, so perhaps I have a natural preference for Brown, but just what does Pedro offer Tita? He seems pretty lifeless actually, other than having a hunky, Antonio-Banderas-like visage. Brown is sweet, intelligent, and caring. And way too understanding! Also, I guess CGI must have ruined me, because what was once a surreal delight now seems pretty straight-laced in terms of narrative and imagery. I guess, as B.B. King says, “the thrill is gone.”

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