This bittersweet fable has a delightfully erotic tang even if the overall narrative texture is a bit chalky. Often directed in a far too earthbound, deliberate manner, KILLING GRANDPA nonetheless brims over with histrionic verve and juicy dialogue that elevates the moral-laden story line
about venal heirs.
Mourning the loss of his wife and regretting the political stonewalling of his pet highway project, Argentine patriarch Don Mariano (Federico Luppi) is thwarted in a shotgun suicide attempt by a coughing spell. Indifferent to his father's spirits, son Marcelo (Atilio Veronelli) tries to sell the
family holdings to a foreign conglomerate with the complicity of his sister Amelita (Mirta Busnelli) and her husband Fernando (Alberto Segado). Concerned manservant Ramon (Emilio Bardi) imports his half-sister Rosita (Ines Estevez) so she can use her mystical powers to restore Don Mariano's
While Marcelo and Amelita lay the groundwork for incompetence proceedings, Rosita renews Don Mariano's lust for life with potions, spells, and sexual healing. The querulous old man shakes off his depression and defies his ungrateful children's plans for him. Only strong-willed Rosita is a match
for the hot-tempered Don Mariano, who distances himself from his one loving relative, granddaughter Fabiana (Laura Novoa), after she proclaims her lesbianism. Unable to fire Rosita, Don Mariano's heirs dig in for a legal battle as the household falls apart and the servants leave. Don Mariano
eventually gives his blessing to Fabiana, but Marcelo, Amelita, and Fernando keep trying to drive a wedge between him and Rosita. Abandoning the financial maelstrom, the May-December lovers run off together. Magically, Rosita uses her supernatural power to enable their car to glide across Don
Mariano's unfinished highway and through the skies.
When KILLING GRANDPA works, it does so due to a combination of earthy humor and a fairy-tale faith in all things being possible. The screenwriters delineate the personalities of grumpy Don Mariano and his bickering offspring with staccato comic strokes. But this often enchanting romance is too
long for its own whimsical good, massaging in its cheery themes when a simple tap on the shoulder would suffice. Also, the twinkling light needed to suffuse this romantic fable often sputters due to the quarrelsome character of Don Mariano, who is sometimes less endearingly crotchety than just
plain mean. At times, you can see where his children have gotten their self-centeredness. Despite the faltering pace and the heavy-handed presentation of Don Mariano's rebirth, KILLING GRANDPA ultimately restores our goodwill. Crisscrossing eroticism and mysticism in the manner of LIKE WATER FOR
CHOCOLATE (1993), the film's otherworldly ending perfectly caps a fable that insists that it's never too late to dream and never too soon to make up for past mistakes. (Profanity, extensive nudity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: NR
- Review: This bittersweet fable has a delightfully erotic tang even if the overall narrative texture is a bit chalky. Often directed in a far too earthbound, deliberate manner, KILLING GRANDPA nonetheless brims over with histrionic verve and juicy dialogue that ele… (more)