The Lighthouse of the Whales (2017)
El Faro de las Orcas (original title)
Watch The Lighthouse of the Whales on Netflix - Excludes Spain, Germany, Austria, Argentina
Written by: Roberto Bubas (novel), Gerardo Olivares, Lucía Puenzo, Sallua Sehk
Directed by: Gerardo Olivares
Starring: Maribel Verdú, Joaquín Furriel, Joaquín Rapalini
In this Spanish language movie, a mother with an autistic child travels from Spain to Argentina hoping a park ranger with a focus on sea animals can help them.
This isn't a bad movie, though it is predictable. Within a few minutes you know exactly where this is going. It's a serious version of Free Willy (1993) that tackles autism as well. The child actor does a great job and the scenic vistas look great.
It's predictability is the main problem, and the movie's foundation hopes you don't question why a park ranger would take in a complete stranger with an autistic child, no questions asked.
With Olivares's last two movies, this forms a trilogy about the theme of a man-animal relationship. This looks great, from the ocean and beaches to the cliffs.
The plot starts with Lola and her son Tristán showing up on Beto's door step. When her sons saw a whale documentary that featured Beto, it was the first time he had ever shown empathy. Lola hopes that Beto can create some form of therapy for Tristán.
Lola doesn't call ahead, she just shows up. Of course Beto is resistant at first, but changes his mind. He's a park ranger that's been warned to stay away from the orca whales by his boss. His boss is concerned that people will see Beto with the whales and attempt to interact with the whales too which could harm both humans and whales.
Lola is the stressed out mother trying to cope and Beto is the isolated nature lover. Everyone is going to learn an important lesson from each other. That makes for a bland movie. There weren't any surprises. It's emotionally manipulative to a degree, but not as much as it could have been since you know what will happen and how this will end.
The actor for Tristán did a great job. The movie treats autism seriously, and while I get Lola would pursue any avenue to help her son, the movie hinges on an improbable aspect of Beto taking them in.