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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mucho Mucho Amor is a documentary that salutes the late Walter Mercado, a Latinx television star and international celebrity. Mercado, who died in 2019 after a 50-year career as a colorful TV astrologist, psychic, and spiritual advisor, primarily tells his own story to the filmmakers. Mercado's positivity, openheartedness, and glamour became cornerstones of his identity, first in Puerto Rico, then to the worldwide Latinx community. Hundreds of millions of fans of all ages revered him. Mercado's extravagant personality, flashy nonconforming image, and refusal to assign himself a gender gave rise to some derision; a few slurs are heard, such as "queer" and "f-ggot." Sketches of female breasts appear briefly in a cartoon drawing. Intimate, revelatory, and admiring, this movie will delight Mercado's fans, and introduce new audiences to a phenomenon of late 20th century media.
What's the story?
In MUCHO MUCHO AMOR, an eccentric, singular little boy gives rise to an eccentric, singular young man -- dancer, actor, art buff -- and then to an eccentric, singular television personality who won the hearts of a worldwide Latinx fanbase. Codirectors Cristina Constantini and Kareem Tabsch rely predominantly on TV archives, news stories, and conversations with their subject, Walter Mercado, to tell his documentary history that begins in childhood and ends three months before his death. They augment those scenes with interviews with some of his extended family, including Willy Acosta, his nearly lifelong attendant and friend, and his ex-manager, who ultimately becomes the sole villain of the story. In the final section, the crew follows Mercado to a spectacular commemoration of his life and work held at the HistoryMiami Museum in 2019.
Is it any good?
A treat for his multitudes of fans and an eye-opening introduction for others, this movie is a festival of Walter Mercado: a one-person testament to audacity, kindness, and amiable self promotion. And, oh those costumes, that home, the sincerity of his predictions and his advice.
One of the great treasures in this glowing portrait is Mercado's journey to the HistoryMiami Museum during the last months of his life in 2019. His joy, comfort, and appreciation are palpable in Mucho Mucho Amor as he accepts the adulation of the crowds and sees the wonders of his collections displayed to perfection in a special exhibit. Another is Mercado's meeting with Lin-Manuel Miranda and dad, Luis. It's delightful to watch a current cultural icon barely able to keep it together in the presence of one of his lifelong heroes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the purposes of documentary filmmaking: to entertain, inform, inspire, and persuade. Which of category or categories best describes Mucho Mucho Amor? What audiences do you think the filmmakers wanted to reach with Walter Mercado's story?
Walter Mercado says in the movie, "I am the picture; the cape is my frame." What does he mean? How can you apply this idea to the way you present yourself? Your clothing, accessories, makeup? What would you like your appearance to say about you?
Mercado's idea was to promote a mix of religions. He said that with any faith or belief, "you can be great." What do you think of his premise that "no one has a monopoly on God?" Agree or disagree? Why?
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