Friday, June 11, 2021

Chasing Wonders Review: A Wine-Based Coming-of-Age That Takes A While To Age

Paz Vega		 Edward James Olmos	Edward James Olmos		 Jessica Marais	Jessica Marais		 Quim Gutiérrez	Quim Gutiérrez		 Carmen Maura	Carmen Maura		 Antonio de la Torre	Antonio de la Torre		 Francesc Orella	Francesc Orella	...	Cosme Jarin Towney	Jarin Towney		 Michael Crisafulli	Michael Crisafulli		 Eamon Pielow	Eamon Pielow	...	High School Teacher

Release date: June 4, 2021 (U.S. Digital)
Running time: 83 minutes
Director: Paul Meins
Writer: Judy Morris (screenplay)
Stars: Paz Vega, Edward James Olmos, Jessica Marais, Quim Gutiérrez, Carmen MauraAntonio de la Torre, Francesc Orella

A coming-of-age story set across the lush wine country of both Australia and Spain, a young man explores the nature of father-son relationships and the pathway toward understanding and forgiveness.

Angélica Huete	...	spanish service production Stewart Le Marechal	...	producer Anna Mohr-Pietsch	...	producer Hilton Nathanson	...	producer Louise Nathanson	...	producer Marta Perez-Porro	...	line producer: Spain Jonny Persey	...	executive producer Anna Vincent	...	producer Timothy White	...	executive producer
Chasing Wonders, like a fine wine, is a complex endeavor with many different flavors contributing to it.  The film has a great cast, with a lot of interesting characters living under this roof and contributing to the family.  Like many families, they are so very different but all contribute to the overall family unit.  I liked the wildly divergent personalities though some of them are much more abrasive than others.  And I liked the varied styles that each member of the family used to try and impart knowledge and growth into the young man.  It shows the many different influences that can help to raise a young man.  And the film has a really good cast, headlined by Paz Vega and Edward James Olmos, both of whom are relatable.  Olmos especially is fun to watch as the grandfather who is looking out for his young grandson and making sure he has some fun and wonder in his life.  And, as you would expect from a film titled Chasing Wonders, the movie does strike a nice balance between childhood wonder and cold reality.  

But Chasing Wonders, also like a fine wine, takes a while to age.  The movie has plenty of dramatic elements, but it doesn't lay the groundwork early enough.  The film tries to keep the story mysterious until the end, but in doing so really alienates a character for the audience.  By the time the reveal happened, I just did not care much for that character regardless of the explanation.  And the film is slow to develop in other respects, which is a mixed bag.  It has some fun scenes to highlight the family dynamics but overall it felt like the movie piled on the drama without progressing the story.  I'm fine with a measured pace if the destination is worth the journey, but this one just didn't seem to arrive there.  I will say that the end of the film is very well done.  It has some beautiful scenery and tugs at the right heartstrings, but the time and effort to get there made the film feel more like a slog and less like a journey.  

Chasing Wonders, like wine, has a mix of different elements and takes a while to age, but leads to a beautiful, complex end product.

Rent it.

Directed by  Paul Meins	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Judy Morris	...	(screenplay)
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Chasing Wonders is available digitally on June 4, 2021.  

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