Exceptionally well done but painful to watch.                  

I’ll cut right to the chase—Paco Roca’s story Wrinkles is exceptionally well done but also extremely difficult to watch.  Some of this might be because I am soon approaching my 50th birthday, though I would think anyone watching the film would feel a great sense of dread about old age, dementia and stagnation—as they are the themes of this depressing story.

Wrinkles is an animated film from Spain and although I always prefer subtitled films, cartoons can usually be dubbed without a serious problem for the viewer and this is definitely true of this film.  Plus, in a nice nod to the original cast, when the English language version ended, they listed not only the English language voice actors but the original Spanish ones as well.

Directed by
Ignacio Ferreras
Martin Sheen, Matthew Modine, George Coe
Release Date
Martin’s Grade: A-

The movie follows the lives of Emilio (Martin Sheen) and Miguel (George Coe)—two men who have been forced to move into a retirement home.  Much of the film centers on Emilio, as he moves from living with his son to the nursing home.  The transition isn’t easy, as Emilio is losing his independence and the staff at the place treat the residents in a rather patronizing manner. Miguel, a long-time resident, helps Emilio to get used to the place.  Sadly, you soon realize that Emilio is slowly losing his mind to Alzheimer’s and Miguel is determined to fight to stay alert and mentally sound.  How the two become friends and deal with this institutional life is the focus of the film and the final portion shows how Miguel adapts to the loss of his friend … or at least the man who his friend used to be.

The least satisfying thing about Wrinkles is the animation.  It isn’t bad—just don’t expect Disney or Miyazaki!  In many ways, the artwork looks a lot like the great TV series The Critic. This isn’t a serious problem and didn’t harm the story—but it certainly isn’t the strong point of the film.

As to the strength of the film, it’s the writing and dialog.  It is an expertly crafted film and it was nice to see an adult animated movie instead of the usual kiddie fare.  The film never shies away from the depressing aspects of institutional living and the characters seemed very real.  This makes for a very good film but also for a super-depressing one.  Because you care for the characters, it hurts to see them slip away…and it reminds you that it will most likely happen to you as well.  Because of this, while I appreciated the film it is clearly a difficult film for many to watch.  Such lines as ‘you you’re your whole … and this is how it ends…” clearly aren’t examples of a feel-good movie!  The seriously depressed should also avoid it as I just can only imagine watching the film would make this worse.

Review by Lead Entertainment Writer & Film Critic, Martin Hafer

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