Review: Family United (La gran familia española) (2013)


The Spanish Film Festival is on all around the country at the moment.  Our own Kathie is there for Digital Education Services reviewing three more films, here is the first of three more.  Read her other reviews from the festival too: Three Many Weddings (Tres bodas de más) and Living is Easy with Eyes Closed (Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados).


Reviewed by Kathie.

Family United, is a very funny, warm-hearted, very loose Spanish take on the 1954 Hollywood musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. This Spanish family has two fewer brothers but the five are all named, as in the Hollywood film, for biblical characters, Adan, Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, and Efrain. They all meet at the family ranch to celebrate the wedding of youngest brother, 18 year old Efrain, who is tying the knot with one of his childhood sweethearts, and includes almost every possible disaster imaginable on a wedding day whilst somehow maintaining a freshness and largely steering clear of the predictable.   There are some deeply poignant moments interspersed with hilarious bits of slapstick (watch out for Raúl Arévalo’s unmissable performance as the waiter), wryly amusing bits of tongue in cheek humour and a thoroughly over-the-top Bollywood-style musical number for the arrival of the bride. There are family and individual secrets; broken hearts; a brush with death; intrigue and brooding; sibling rivalry; a contrived break-in and burglary, all set against the drama of the 2010 soccer World Cup final being played out on the same day.

The story is supported by a strong cast with stand out performances from Roberto Alamo as child-minded but hulking second oldest brother, Ben, who is both lovable and hilarious; and Antonio de la Torre as an endearing depressive older brother, Adan.