Camino (2008)

Camino (2008)

written and directed by Javier Fesser

Rating: 2 / 5 – Okay

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This Spanish film based on the real-life case of Alexia González-Barrios, a teenage girl who died from spinal cancer and who the Catholic Church deemed worthy of canonization, is not without controversy. As an obvious attack on religion, I thought it raised many interesting questions: Did the family and the Opus Dei institution – in particular Camino’s mother Gloria (Carme Elías) – somehow contribute to her death in their efforts to sanctify her? Did the girl really talk to deities or was she just hallucinating? When she referred to “Jesús” was she alluding to God or just to her schoolgirl crush of the same name? For a while, I was hooked. But while Camino has solid performances all around, director Javier Fesser lets it go on for far too long (2 hours and 23 minutes). He also seems too enamored of the many “magical realism” scenes that take us into the teenager’s mind. I can certainly see why he chose that route – the fantasy moments make the film more palatable for the audience – but I wish he hadn’t served his bitter pill with such a big helping of sugar. In any case, Camino won six Goya Awards (Spain’s equivalent to the Academy Awards), so what do I know.

Carlos I. Cuevas