Review: Family United (La Gran Familia Espanola) (2013)

For Filmink: The small world of a Spanish wedding collides with The 2010 World Cup in Daniel Sanchez Arevalo’s refreshing comedy, Family United.

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Year: 2013
Rating: NA
Director: Daniel Sanchez Arevalo
Cast: Patrick Criado, Antonio de la Torre
Distributor: Spanish Film Festival 2014
Released: April 29-May 18 (Syd), April 30-May 18
(Mel), May 1-14 (Bris), May 6-21 (Adel),
May 6-21 (Perth), May 8-14 (Byron Bay)
Film Worth: $16.00

FILMINK rates movies out of $20 – the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

“…daring and contemporary…”

The small world of a Spanish wedding collides with The 2010 World Cup in Daniel Sanchez Arevalo’s refreshing comedy, Family United. Ephraim (Patrick Criado) is the groom on the big day in countryside Madrid, set against the backdrop of the much anticipated soccer final between Spain and Netherlands, to which the whole nation is fervidly drawn. When Ephraim’s father suffers a small heart attack and brings the wedding to an abrupt pause mid-ceremony, all the guests move to watch the game while Ephraim silently reconsiders his marriage to his pregnant childhood sweetheart, Carla (Arancha Marti), for his other love, Monica (Sandra Martin).

Meanwhile, each of his four brothers are preoccupied with their own personal dilemmas, just as the rest of the soccer-fanatical country undergoes its collective catharsis. Depressive Adan (Antonio de la Torre) tries to rebuild his life; child minded Benjamin helps him break into their father’s safe; and Daniel (Miquel Fernandez) and Caleb (Quim Gutierrez) fight for the affections of the beautiful Cris (Veronica Echegui). The comedy is spotted with ritual wedding clichés, with Daniel losing a ring and Caleb returning after years in isolation, but nonetheless the engaging film is rich with complex and unusual personalities that are commonly exempt from comedy. The pitch perfect cast hits the right notes within the familial Spanish chaos, slipping from high emotion to raw humour.

It’s daring and contemporary, featuring a wedding aisle dance accompanied by a Calvin Harris song, and semi-formal combinations of suspenders and Converse by the bridal party. While the film doesn’t plate up anything new, Arevalo’s direction and attention to detail make Family United a delightful ride that’s fresh, witty, sad, and most importantly, human.

Originally published in FilmInk Magazine, April 25, 2014.

Watch the trailer for Family United (La Gran Familia Espanola) below:


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