A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the Oscar-nominated Chico & Rita may be animated, but it isn't aimed at kids. It's a grown-up love story about two Cuban musicians who fall for each other hard but can't always make it work. There are some bitter arguments with plenty of swearing (mostly in Spanish, with English subtitles), some sex scenes complete with realistic cartoon nudity, and a good deal of drinking and smoking.
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What's the story?
Chico (voiced by Eman Xor Ona) is a struggling piano player; Rita (Limara Meneses) is a struggling singer. In this animated film set in 1948 Cuba, they fall hard for each other and make not only a beautiful couple, but also a duo on the verge of stardom. The only thing that comes between them is themselves, as petty jealousy and drunken arguments threaten to break up them ... and their act. Can they have success and each other, or will their tempestuous relationship threaten their path to stardom?
Is it any good?
CHICO & RITA is a love story about two people who can't be together and can't be apart; if it were live action, with real people, it would probably seem predictable and cliched. But shifting the medium to animation makes the tale seem more believable and adds an entertaining, interesting, albeit ultimately not completely satisfying, twist.
This is not a cartoon for kids, it's about adults making grown-up choices. It's charming, melancholy, and bittersweet -- with sublime music -- and you root for the characters not to make the mistakes that are clearly about to happen. In the end, they may not get everything they hoped for, but eventually they get what they truly need.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Chico and Rita's relationship. Do you think they were meant to be together? Is there such a thing? Or is it a fiction promoted by movies, books, and TV shows?
Do you think animation is the right medium for this type of story? Can you imagine the same film using live-action actors? Do cartoons have to be aimed at children?