Who the monster is, and what makes them monstrous, is too
good to spoil, and you’ll be hard-pushed to guess: the candidates certainly
seem innocuous enough, if not particularly likeable. There’s teenage Valeria (Ana
Valeria Becerril), a selfish teenager who’s just become pregnant by her
handsome doltish boyfriend Mateo (Enrique Arrizon). They live with Valeria’s
lumpen and melancholy half-sister Clara (Joanna Larequi), partying and lounging
around, until the girls’ mother April (Emma Suárez) returns from god knows where.
April is a free spirit, a sexy hippy with ambitions to make
yoga instruction videos. Her reaction to Valeria’s pregnancy is blithe,
although problems soon emerge – Valeria is clearly not ready for parenthood.
After the birth, she and Mateo struggle to muster up the inclination (let alone
the energy) to dedicate themselves to full-time parenthood. Frustratingly,
Valeria’s father (April’s ex) stubbornly refuses to get involved – but perhaps
he knows something about the people involved that keeps him at a safe distance?
Eventually, the adults intervene and Mateo’s parents
reluctantly join forces with April to adopt the baby. It’s at this point that April’s Daughter finally sheds its guise
as a sedate domestic drama, and the audience’s gasp at the turn of events could
be mistaken for a sigh of relief: things finally become as interesting as they
Franco’s film-making is detached, and some might find it
cold. But by refraining from a more emotive style, and denying his audience
familiar cues to the sort of film April’s
Daughter is, he makes his film feel genuinely unpredictable. It also makes
the narrative histrionics more credible, giving the more Jeremy Kyle aspects of
the film an art-house respectability.
Perhaps April’s Daughter is simply that: a tasty melodrama with an arty garnish, served cold. But Franco knows how to prepare such a film in just the right way and saves the best cuts until last.
|What||April's Daughter film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
20 May 17 – 20 Mar 19, Times Vary
|Price||£Determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more information|