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Neruda

Director:  Pablo Larraín
Year Released:  2016
Rating:  3.0

Poet and politician (and one of my artistic heroes) Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) has to go into hiding because of his Communist beliefs, with detective Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal) ordered by the President of Chile to arrest him. After the disastrous Jackie, Larraín redeems himself with this effort, which doesn't adhere to the traditional biopic 'formula,' switching perspectives and treating its narrative almost like a poem itself (life-as-theater!). I like how the Neruda presented here isn't a saint - he frequents brothels, he drinks too much, he's conceited (and, perhaps, naive) - and the movie reinforces the power of the artist to drive society and touch lives (people feel blessed just being around him). I could have done with a bit less voice-over (by Bernal) and it's probably a little too precious for its own good, but the spirit feels right.

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