This entertaining film deserved better than the lukewarm reviews it received on initial release. The Guardian's two star review simply described it as unsatisfying and unconvincing. It seems to be more notable as singer Duffy's acting debut! Whilst it does tend to stray a little into 'cloud cuckoo land' towards the end, it is still a very good film from a talented and well meaning director. Son of Camarthen Marc Evans surely has a first in a film where the only spoken languages are Welsh and Spanish. The lure of a film shot in Patagonia and Wales was too great for me to resist. Throw in the added interest of the Welsh historical connection, which I was aware of, and it was an absolute must. The vast Patagonian vistas did not disappoint, and neither did the film.
The film focuses on people connected to 'Y Wladfa' the Welsh settlement in Patagonia. The strands are intelligently woven together by following a young Welsh couple from Cardiff on their visit to Argentina. Photographer Matthew Gravelle visits to photograph the windswept little Welsh chapels of Patagonia accompanied by his girlfriend, played by Brecon beauty Nia Roberts. The two battle difficult personal issues which are exacerbated when Nia meets handsome Welsh-Patagonian rancher Matthew Rhys. Meanwhile in this two stranded road movie, Argentinian Spanish speaking octogenarian Cerys decides to visit her mothers birthplace on a farm in Wales accompanied by a neighbours son. This unlikely pair are given a right royal Welsh runaround before eventually closing in on their destination.
I have to say that I really got into this film ealy on, and it managed to hold my interest throughout as I became involved with the characters. The Argentinian pair who were stereotypical 'strangers in a strange land' provide the films good humour and pathos. Their burgeoning relationship reminded me of the one in the lovely Brazilian film "Central Station", between a young boy and a jaded middle aged woman. There is so much warmth to be found in both relationships. The thoughtful relationship in Argentina seems to be more an excuse to enjoy the stunning scenery and an unashamedly fine advertisement for Argentinian tourism. The scenery incidentally is beautifully filmed with some memorable shots. The film is well acted, well scripted and well shot. The only thing that stops me from dishing out five stars is the films melodramatic and implausible ending. You will have to watch the scene on the lake to see if you agree with me! This aside it was a very enjoyable film. A real surprise package, that was much better than expected. It seems young Duffy can act a bit too! Certainly worth catching, even if your not Welsh! If you are a reader I can recommend Bruce Chatwin's little travel masterpiece "In Patagonia", which covers that area quite beautifully.