Oct 28, 2018
Welcome back to another week of reviews. We’re working on some pretty major changes to the podcast that will debut early next year, taking in all the feedback from this first year worth of podcasts, and learning the great power of networking. One of those changes will potentially be breaking out the Netflix Original movies into their own podcast, an idea I’ve floated before, and I would love to hear your feedback on that idea.
Also, if you have a quick moment, please pause this podcast, then submit a review for the podcast at your podcatcher of choice. Every review helps us climb the charts. Reach out to me on social media or via onemoviepunch.com, and let me know what you think or if you submitted a review. Who knows? You might hear it read here!
Today’s movie is “How to Get Over A Breakup” (2018), the Netflix Original Peruvian comedy directed by Bruno Ascenzo and Joanna Lombardi, and written for the screen by María José Osorio. The film follows María Fé (Gisela Ponce de León), a woman whose life is turned upside down when her boyfriend Matías (Andrés Salas) leaves her. Now, as an outlet for coping with the change, she starts a blog, and begins to make other changes in her life, with the help of her friends Natalia (Karina Jordán) and Carolina (Jely Reátegui).
This is the first Peruvian film I’ve reviewed for the podcast, and as far as I can remember, the first Peruvian film I’ve ever seen. It’s a dangerous prospect watching a particular country or culture’s cinema for the first time, and incredibly unfair to the film-makers, who probably don’t seem themselves as cultural ambassadors, nor should they. And honestly, if I had my choice, I probably wouldn’t have picked today’s film as my introduction, a romantic comedy about an upper middle-class advertising worker going through a long-distance break-up. But then I would have missed a fun opportunity to compare and contrast a fairly reductive story of empowerment within another culture, one that is surprisingly familiar to fans of romantic comedies in general.
“How to Get Over a Breakup”, or “Soltera Codiciada”, is based on the real-life blog of the same name by writer María José Osorio. You can check out her actual blog at solteracodiciada.com if you want to see the source material. It’s important to understand the previous incarnations of the story, because it shows us the appeal of each medium. Blogs, although waning in popularity, have a serial intimacy that permits a certain kind of storytelling to work. It doesn’t have to be perfectly constructed, and often is written as spoken, rather than a more considered form of prose. The popular blog became a popular book, which requires putting more boundaries around the original content, making sure it all ties together, and making it work for someone sitting down for six or so hours to enjoy the work in a new way. And today’s film is a third version, rewritten to tell the story about how the blog, and book, came into existence, and reconfigures the story for an even shorter time, just over 100 minutes, and unfortunately, I feel this is where the story begins to have more than a few problems.
I certainly had fun watching the story of María Fé, but I also felt the story didn’t fit well to the movie medium, trying to have a standard empowerment story arc based on material that has anything but, which gives the entire movie a disconnected feeling, and with some trouble trying to understand how much time is passing between scenes. We can take time with the blog or the book to figure out where we might be, but with a movie, there’s no time to enjoy what’s happening. I honestly think a limited series format would have been a better choice, because this film has more than enough content to fill six to ten episodes, and it wouldn’t feel like a montage of highlights. It would also allow more time to explore modern-day Lima, and could work with more feelings and tones instead of the generally light-hearted path the story takes. More great locations to add to those used in the film. More great social media effects that can show the weird networked communication of today. It’s an okay film, but I feel there is so much more potential, which simply couldn’t be fulfilled in the running time.
“How to Get Over A Breakup” (2018) is a lighthearted, but heartwarming story of empowerment based upon the blog and book by María José Osorio. While it can feel confined within the film format, it does deliver a fun and watchable dramedy about upper middle-class life in Lima, and the potential for much more. Fans of dramedies, especially Spanish-language dramedies, should definitely check out this film, with your preferred form of indulgence, but beware that you may come away wanting more, probably from either the book or the blog.
Rotten Tomatoes: NR
One Movie Punch: 7.2/10
“How to Get Over A Breakup” (2018) is rated TV-MA and is currently playing on Netflix.