Parents' Guide to

Chasing Wonders

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Intergenerational family drama has language, violence.

Movie NR 2021 86 minutes
Chasing Wonders Poster Image

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This well-acted, interestingly executed coming-of-age story explores issues of immigration, family trauma, and abuse. Despite the fact that the main character is a child, this isn't really a movie for young kids. There's too much mature content to keep the movie in the family friendly realm -- particularly when Felipe turns from severe to abusive -- but adult viewers will appreciate the strong relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. Olmos does a wonderful job as Savino's adoring grandfather, even though he doesn't have a Castilian accent when he speaks in English or Spanish like the other actors. And Maura, a legendary Spanish actor, is formidable as the grandmother. The cinematography is gorgeous both in Australia and Spain, but the most interesting part of the film is that, thanks to the five-year gap between shooting the two segments, Crisafulli plays Savino in both time periods.

Only Crisafulli is in the two portions of the story, but the Australian parts make up a much bigger percentage of the film. The titular wonder of Savino's childhood adventures is a bit undermined by the trauma and loss he experiences. Olmos' narration is also a bit cheesy at times, as is the dialogue. But there's an authenticity to the adults' interactions with one another, particularly the brothers, and a tenderness to how Savino internalizes what his grandfather Luis told him as a child and continues to dream, to search for answers, to explore not only as a child but as a young adult.

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