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 Crimes that Bind is a 2020 Argentinian film (with English subtitles) depicting the slow recognition by an older, upper middle-class mother of the truth about a family situation she has refused to face before. Themes that make this appropriate only for older teens include domestic violence, rape, an unexpected birth, and drug abuse and addiction, all offscreen. Language includes "s--t" and "hell," and "whore." A woman is seen wearing bloody clothes. A bloody bathroom is shown.
What's the story?
Telling the story depicted in THE CRIMES THAT BIND requires revealing numerous important plot developments. Alicia (Celicia Roth) and her husband Ignacio (Miguel Angel Sola) enjoy a comfortable upper middle-class life in Buenos Aires, with yoga classes in their living room, fashionable clothes, and a pleasant social life. Alicia is raising her live-in maid Gladys' (Yanina Avila) small child. Gladys, uneducated and an abuse victim since childhood, works hard and says little. One day, Alicia's 30-year-old son Daniel (Benjamin Amadeo) calls collect to announce he's been arrested, with charges related to his difficult relationship with an ex-wife (Sofia Gala Castiglione) who won't let him see his son, complicated by his history of drug abuse and bankruptcies. Although Daniel's troubles aren't new and his misdeeds have put a strain on his parents' marriage, they loyally spend their savings to distribute bribes that will get charges dropped and evidence "disappeared." In the midst of this crisis, Gladys gets into a situation that lands her in jail. Eventually, the stories are tied together, leading to life changes for all involved.
Is it any good?
This movingly reveals the slow awakening of a devoted mother who comes to realize that the son she has always loved and protected may not deserve her devotion. She, like every other character in the story, must open her eyes to life-altering truths. Director Sebastian Schindel tells a story of ultimate responsibility, in which some characters have hidden their crimes, others have lived blissfully in denial, and other are guilty only of turning a blind eye to reality. Each character is eventually forced to wake up and pay a price, some for being too kind, or too silent, or too naïve. Sometimes projecting the tension of a family drama and at other times unreeling mysteriously like something in the horror genre, The Crimes that Bind skillfully demonstrates that our first impressions aren't necessarily correct.
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