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*** Official SPANGLISH Review Thread (1 Viewer)


Senior HTF Member
Jul 4, 1997
Hmm. I was able to see this this afternoon. I can't say I'm too super positive about it. Reminds me too much of the kind of cloying work in something like "Steel Magnolias".. or "Pay it Forward"

Isn't saying it's terrible it's just.. hmm. I'll think about it and write something up for later.

(Revised to expand)

This film has far better acting then I expected at the beginning, and it flows fairly brisk. The story lays itself out in such a manner to provide the audience clue ins without beating them over the head with the direction of the plot.

However, the narrative, by design, beats the audience over the head with cloying emotional effects that seem struck out of films like Steel Magnolias, as I noted above. I have tried to think of a good way to explain that.. it's somewhat like telegraphing a punch.. you know that there is a point coming where it almost says "you should cry now" "this is sad" and so on.

The other great problem with the film is that believability seems to go out the window early and often. Things happen which are hard to imagine occuring anywhere as part of the human condition. Tea Leoni's character is portrayed to be such a gutless, semi-evil character, that it just really never resonates with me.

The longer I'm away from the film, I'm wondering what the point was in making her character such a subtle monster, because it makes redemption stretch reason.

:star: :star: / :star: :star: :star: :star:

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1999
I really got into this film, it's just so well done. The acting, the direction, the screenplay all hit the right notes, and made for a really rewarding viewing experience in which this viewer got involved with the characters and their stories that get interwoven into a narrative that transcends the language barrier between American and Mexican cultures.

I'll get this out of the way: Paz Vega is going to find a lot of fans after this film opens big, she is absolutely magnetic on the screen, you can't keep your eyes off of her while she's on-screen, and she does a fantastic job in her role. Tea Leoni is also pretty good, and it's a juicy part for an actress, with emotions running the gamut from beginning to end. Adam Sandler was also adequate for the role, though his comedic streak peeps out every now and then, but it's tamed enough to keep his character believable within the framework of the story. The children were also up to the task of keeping up with the adults, and give nice performances.

James L. Brooks makes it look so easy, you simply enjoy the film as it unfolds itself, and the narrative is always flowing freely but strongly, and I'd be hard pressed to toss out any of the scenes, so I think the screenplay was pretty tight, and allowed the characters reveal themselves as the story progressed in a very natural manner, and there is so much heart at the core of the film.

If you are looking for a good dramedy, this is the film for you, it does so many things right, and deserves a large audience.

I give it 3.5 stars, or a grade of B+.

Robert Crawford

Senior HTF Member
Dec 9, 1998
Real Name
This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Spanglish". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



Senior HTF Member
Feb 8, 2001
Real Name
Spanglish - :star::star::star:

The majority of this film is wonderful, but by the time it gets to the end there’s no place for it to arrive at. You’re left wondering what the point is of certain last minute decisions, who the film was really about, and you’re left very annoyed at the intrusive narration ruining some wonderful moments at the end.

Spanglish opens with and is supposedly about a young Mexican woman and her daughter. After her husband leaves her, they make their way (illicitly) to America where they’re fine for six years until the daughter has a dance and gets a hand on her butt from an enthusiastic young man which causes her mother to stop working two jobs and start looking for one that can pay the same as the two—namely housework for rich Beverly hills yuppies.

Spanglish is then taken over by the dominant, loud, and attention demanding white folks, the over-zealous-mom-former-career-woman-who-must-make-everything-everyone-elses-fault-because-she-is-so-perfect-she-can’t-possibly-be-the-cause-of-any-of-her-own-troubles, the bread winning best-chef-in-america good dad, and the slightly over-weight daughter with-a-heart-of-gold. The hyphenations represent character development.

Now we have these two families, the film is ostensibly about one helping out the others, but this is muddled by the fact that very little fixing actually takes place and a lot of harm does. That’s not a bad path for the story to take in and of itself, but when a sickening layer of ‘happy story happy story, this is a happy story so be happy’ is laid over these two families failings and foibles it is damned frustrating. The films trying to pound into your head that this is a happy and good story despite all the evidence of your eyes. We’re left with too little actual development and too many questions about what happens next. There were a lot of wonderful moments in this film, the scene on the beach, the daughter translating an argument for her mother and the American father, the father cooking for the Mexican mother, and I think that amounts to about one half of a movie. At the point where things have been laid out and then slowly stitched back together to heal, the story just cuts out with a happily ever after bit of narration over what should have been one of the most important moments of the relationship between the daughter and mother.

The film is very well made, written, directed, and acted. It’s an outstanding production, the problem is that it’s just half, or at least two-thirds of a film. I enjoyed Spanglish, but it does have some major problems that many people will have issues with, however I found the majority of it to be exceptional and entertaining enough to give it a strong recommendation.

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