Sunday, February 16, 2014

Movie Review: Instructions Not Included (Mexican/Spanish)

INI is a touching Mexican movie (in Spanish, but also available in English audio) about a serial bed hopper who suddenly gets saddled with a baby girl, by one of his ex-conquests, who dumps the baby in his hands and disappears.

Forced to take care of the baby, and now madly in love with her, the father migrates to the US, and takes the job of a stunt man. His daring acts pays him enough to shower all his love and attention on his baby, who grows up to being 6 years old. All this while, he hides the real story of her mother from her, creating a fantasy web where her mother "writes" to her every week, about her "missions to save the world".

Then, at a doctor's appointment one day, the doctor shakes his head and gives the bad news. The treatment isn't working and you have only a few days left. 

Desperate and scared of losing the wonderful life he has painstakingly built up, life takes another dramatic twist when the mom calls up, and comes over to visit her daughter, who she hasn't seen in years. As the mother-daughter relationship builds up, she returns to New York to her gay partner, promising to come back soon - and instead kicks off a custody battle with the father, discrediting him for his risky job and inability to speak English. While she loses the battle, she then pulls out her ace - a paternity test, which comes negative. But when she comes to take her daughter away, she realizes both dad and daughter have flown the nest - back to Mexico.

And that's when she (and you) come to know the truth. The girl, with a hole in her heart, has just a few days left to live. 

A beautiful, though painful, ending, some great dad-daughter moments, an awesome cast, and a poignantly humorous story make this a very beautiful movie. 

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