Parents' Guide to

The Liberator

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Compelling lead performance saves violent Bolivar biopic.

Movie R 2014 119 minutes
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There are some impressive aspects of The Liberator. Ramirez, for one, is the ideal actor to play Bolivar, particularly because he himself is Venezuelan, and that sort of personal connection to a role rarely occurs in Hollywood productions (we can only imagine which British actor might have played the role, had the movie been made by a major studio). A gifted actor (watch the mini-series Carlos for further proof), Ramirez is appropriately swashbuckling and dashing to play Bolivar, and he certainly makes it believable that the continent's great liberator was also quite the Casanova.

The war sequences are well staged and handled, as are the set pieces involving gorgeous Venezuelan, Colombian, or Spanish castles, forts, caves, and plantations. Unfortunately, the plot's pace and lack of more personal details bog the story down, making it seem longer than two hours. So much happens, but the audience doesn't find out enough about Bolivar's motivations or his relationship with Manuela Saenz (Julia Acosta), whom Bolivar called "the liberator of the liberator." It's worth seeing, if only for Ramirez, who deserves more leading roles. But don't expect a definitive or comprehensive view on either the man or his cause; a mini-series would be a better way to fully appreciate what Bolivar accomplished in South America.

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