A Trip to the Moon
Joaquín Cambre’s 2017 offering follows Tomás (Ángelo Mutti Spinetta) through a period of uncomfortable growth into adolescence. Familiar tropes – falling in love, strained parent-teenager relations – are blended with undertones of more serious mental health and family problems.
This combination of challenges creates depth of character for Tomás but, as a result of the volume of issues playing out, leaves other characters starkly underdeveloped. The school exam, sister Juliana’s (Micaela Amaro) relationship and mother Susi’s (Leticia Brédice) excessive control over food preparation for the family, all subplots that occupy much of the start of the film, are left forgotten and unresolved as the trip to the moon gets underway.
The teenager is befriended by the beautiful Iris (Ángela Torres), and the fragility of Tomás’s mental state and predisposition for escapism are explored in tandem to his evolving feelings for her. As the film builds to a powerful climax that blends reality with Tomás’s imagination, his interest in the moon is revealed to be less innocent than it seems. It is in these latter scenes that the cast come into their own, displaying emotion that is lacking in the opening sequences.
Ripping between reality and imagination, Spinetta’s performance is much stronger when portraying the Tomás who has almost totally lost grip on reality. These fantasy scenes are well shot and elevated by a powerful soundtrack (music by Emilio Haro and Gabriel Barredo) that is dominated by guitar and evocative of teenage angst.
A Trip to the Moon has a pleasing circularity and balance, bookended with the idea that the moon is a mirror of Earth. As the focus of Tomas’s escapism throughout, the moon is his parallel world and the audience grows to empathise with this as their connection is explored and deepens. When the plot is stripped back to this relationship between boy and moon, Cambre’s depiction of painful adolescence is at its boldest and most enjoyable.
A Trip to the Moon is released in select cinemas on 22nd March 2019.
Watch the trailer for A Trip to the Moon here: