Is your greatest fear growing old and getting put in a home to wither away isolated from the world? If you answered yes than I have the movie for you. The Spanish animated film Wrinkles is one of the saddest movies I’ve ever seen. That’s not a knock against it. There is absolutely a place and even necessity for tragedies in cinema. And I was moved by it and terrified and cried my eyes out…
Here’s the trailer.
Wrinkles has an interesting story. It is animated using hand drawings by the Spanish artist Paco Roca. It was released in Spain in 2011 and was nominated for an Annie in 2012 Nevertheless, it was the short list of possible Oscar nominees in 2014 because of finally getting an American cast dubbing and release in April 2014 (they certainly took their time!). It cost only $2 million euros to make (2.2 mil dollars). That’s astonishing when you see how lovely the animation is and even a low budget film like Secret of the Kells cost 6.5 million euros. It shows how cheaply animation can be done and achieve something beautiful.
Wrinkles is about a man named Emilio who is put into a nursing home by his kids and given a man named Miguel as his roommate. In the English dubbing these parts are played by Martin Sheen and Matthew Modine respectively. And basically the movie is about the deadening day to day life at the home and Emilio’s descent into Alzheimers.
Miguel is a bright light even if he cheats a few people out of money at the home. He does everything he can to make people happy in their delusions and it is sweet to see. For instance, there is a woman who fantasizes she is on a train to Turkey and he brings her a menthol cigarette she doesn’t light and they talk about how the journey is going.
Miguel is also very sweet with Emilio who grows paranoid as he loses one thing after another. Emilio’s family comes to visit on Christmas (only on Christmas) and he can’t remember his grandson or why they are there. He hates it at the home but it is where he needs to be at the moment.
There is a swimming pool at the home which taunts the residents who are not mobile enough to get in the water . However, it is very appealing to the younger generation putting their father in the home because ‘we remembered how you used to love to swim’. That is the so sad…There is one triumphant scene where Emilio decides to swim anyway and it is tense and joyous and completely lovely.
The ending with a prison break from the home seemed a little far-fetched but still lovingly done. Everything about the movie is lovingly done. It is heartbreaking but with love and it profiles an issue we don’t want to talk about. We want to hide it away like we hide the people away. As someone who doesn’t have children I will probably end up in some place like that. It’s so sad.
Wrinkles is definitely grown up animation but I think it is an important message for kids to learn too. Life is still life even if they can’t remember and are hidden away. There is 2 uses of the F word but it is pretty clean story. It is definitely a heart breaker but in Miguel’s case there is a thin shred of hope throughout the film. I was really moved by it. Since when did every story have to be a comedy? Tragedies are important so we can absorb our own tragedies better.
It’s tough to watch but sometimes that is the most profound.
Overall Grade- A, Content Grade- B