Starring: Tacho González, Álvaro Guevara, Mabel Rivera
Genre: Drama/ Animation/ World Cinema
After showing the signs of the early stages of Alzheimer’s, Emilio’s (González) family come to a difficult conclusion that it is time to place him in a care home. Once there, Emilio forms a friendship with his roommate Miguel (Guevara) and gets to know the colourful characters in the home. Though Emilio is unaware that he has Alzheimer’s, the of sound mind Miguel does and does all he can to delay Emilio going ‘upstairs’ to the floor above for patients with more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s on the floor known as the floor where all hope is lost.
The so-called ‘grey pound’ demographic of cinema goers are being increasingly targeted by money grabbing film producers these days, and as a result we are getting more and more cynically made crowd pleasing films with more of a focus on older characters. Though of course more often than not these films tend to go for obvious jokes and character arcs, but with very little heart, substance or integrity. Well, though the animated Wrinkles (though a 2011 production, it was only released in the UK in 2014 with an English dubbed version featuring Martin Sheen) focuses on characters of this demographic, it is not just a shameless cash in and is a genuinely moving and engaging film from start to finish.
Favouring character development over actual plot, admittedly very little dramatic happens in the narrative, but that is a good thing as we are given the chance to truly care for the characters involved. Whether you have directly experienced having a relative with Alzheimer’s or not, Wrinkles (or Arrugas in Spanish) explores many universal themes that it is impossible not to be moved by its gentle storytelling.
The animation may be basic, but it actually feels right for this type of story and adds to the poignancy, however great honest storytelling with integrity is always the most important thing and Wrinkles has that in abundance. Though the main focus of the narrative is Emilio and Miguel, the other characters within the care home are equally memorable as they also get their own individual moments and ultimately contribute to the emotional involvement of the film’s final third. Admittedly this final third gets increasingly bleak, with a surprising shift in character focus, but it has plenty of very emotionally satisfying moments.
From start to finish all narrative developments always feel appropriate and consistent with the perfectly judged tone of the film that always tackles its subject with a realistic point of view. This all contributes to a truly moving and emotional film experience proving that cartoons can be very grown up too.