Review: Language Lessons (SXSW 2021)

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Title: Language Lessons
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Natalie Morales
Starring: Mark Duplass, Natalie Morales, Desean Terry
Runtime: 1 hr 31 mins

What It Is: Adam (Duplass) is a man who’s just received the gift of 100 Spanish lessons from his loving husband Will (Terry). Whether as a joke or quite seriously Adam uses the gift and his teacher Cariñois happy to help. When Adam suddenly experiences a life-changing event he’s not sure he wants to continue with the 100 lessons. He does it anyway. What happens is that he and Cariño form a bond. A friendship sparks that the both of them could really use.

What We Think: This might just be my favorite film of 2021. It’s truly incredible. Mark Duplass and Natalie Morales have incredible chemistry even if it’s all through ZOOM, which it is. I can’t say enough about Morales and her talent. Not only is she incredible in front of the camera but she’s pulled off something difficult behind it. She’s done it spectacularly. The emotional core of the film is one that grips and for a comedy strikes every correct note. This speaks to Morales’ talent as a writer as well as she and Duplass put the script together. More than anything it’s beautiful to hear the language of Spanish put into a film where its idiosyncrasies are put on display, somewhat. Regardless of that this is definitely something that every person needs to see when it comes out in September.

Our Grade: A+, Don’t be surprised if this makes the best of 2021 list come year’s end. There are moments in this that are just truly beautiful. The relationship between the two protagonists is something beautiful. Something…amazing that we don’t often see in a cinema. True platonic friendship. I wish every Adam had a Cariño and every Cariño an Adam. This film is nothing short of brilliant and the genius behind it has a bright future ahead of her. What a stellar debut feature for Natalie Morales.

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