Entertainment :: Movies

Chico & Rita

by Kevin Taft
Contributor
Tuesday Sep 18, 2012
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Academy Award nominee "Chico & Rita" is a stylistic adult animated film that tells a tale of romance and heartache set in Cuba and New York circa 1948. Easily a story that could have been told with real A-list talent, it also works in the animated world because of the beauty of the palette created by director Fernando Trueba ("Belle Epoque") and Spain’s renowned artist and designer Javier Mariscal.

The story begins in Cuba where a tired old man named Chico returns home to his small run-down apartment only to hear a song on the radio that brings him back to memories of his past. The story that follows is of his days as a piano player where he meets the lovely blues singer Rita with whom he begins a volatile and sexually heated relationship. The two become an entertainment duo only to have Chico’s past lover put a wrench in the works and as a result they become estranged. As Rita’s career skyrockets and she takes off for New York, Chico’s love for her keeps him making terrible choices which hurt them both. Not that Rita doesn’t do the same thing. So while the film has an unshakable beauty to it, the back and forth of their relationship grows weary.

As an epic romance, it might have worked better as a flesh and blood film. The style of animation leaves the characters’ faces flat and emotionless and since the film is all about their love and heartbreak, losing that gives it a cold feeling.

There is much to appreciate here, but the 93-minute running time does feel a bit too long.

Special features include only the theatrical trailer and a 30-minute making of documentary.

The Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack comes not only with both disc formats, but also the award-winning soundtrack and an excerpt from the best-selling graphic novel.

"Chico & Rita"
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
$39.95

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to ’Star Wars’ and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg. He can be seen in the flesh on the weekly PBS movie review series "Just Seen It."

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