Parents' Guide to


By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Excellent Spanish biopic has LGBTQ+ themes, nudity, cursing.

TV Max Drama 2020
Veneno Poster Image

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The dramatic coming-of-age series takes an intimate look into the tumultuous life of Cristina Ortiz with poignancy and humor. Using flashbacks to structure the narrative, it highlights some of the key moments that changed the trajectory of her life. But while Ortiz is painted as a likable, relatable, and talented person, the story does not ignore her many flaws, and some of the life-altering bad choices she made. The creators' choice to cast as many transgender actors as possible in key roles (like Paca La Piraña, who plays herself as Cristina's roommate and best friend) adds to this authentic interpretation of her unique lived experience.

Like any dramatic biopic, there's a fair share of fictionalized moments. But the overall miniseries is well-produced and extremely well-performed. Through the eyes of both the young Valeria -- who is embarking on her own personal journey -- and the memories of the older Cristina, it succeeds at revealing how life for the LGBTQ+ community in Spain has evolved (and not evolved) since the 1960s. It also highlights the powerful role the media plays in creating and destroying a celebrity, especially when it's used to comment on "other" people who are different under the guise of entertainment. Overall, Veneno is an outstanding story about a woman who opted to live openly and unapologetically as who she was, while addressing the joys and tragedies she experienced as a result.

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