Butterfly

"Good"

Butterfly Review


A compelling marriage of innocence and intellectualism, "The Butterfly" views the see-sawing political upheaval of 1936 Spain through the life of a worrisome, bookish little boy.

Our young hero -- an asthmatic tailor's son named Moncho (Manuel Lozano) -- becomes fascinated by learning through his affectionate tutelage under an old schoolmaster (legendary Spanish thespian Fernando Fernan Gomez, "The Grandfather," "Belle Epoque"), whose involvement in humanitarian causes and whose open eschewment of the church put him in the crosshairs of the right-wingers critical of the precarious current government.

But, understandably, Moncho more interested in playing in the fields near his village and learning about life and nature from his mentor than he is in the freedom newly tasted by revolutionary republicans like his teacher and cautiously activist parents (played with tenderness and depth by Uxia Blanco and Gonzalo Uriarte). He takes only minor notice of the way fear and paranoia about losing their newly won rights is a constant topic of conversation among the grown-ups around him.

With director Jose Luis Cuerda's mix of carefree sweetness and foreboding political undercurrent, "The Butterfly" feels intentionally like a children's movie hijacked by the loss of innocence that eventually grips Moncho. The political winds change and the boy sees everyone he cares about land in grave danger, forced to chose between persecution and painful, shameful denouncement of their ideology.

Giving the film a rich period atmosphere, Cuerda lingers longer than necessary on some of the story's incidentals, like the time Moncho spends as the mascot of a traveling orchestra that has taken his sax-playing teenage brother (Alexis de los Santos) under its wing. But he also slips powerful symbolism into such episodes, and even when the film seems to stall momentarily there's always the memorable performances of compassionate Gomez and fretful little Lozano to focus on.

As the sickly Moncho's heath improves, Lozano portrays with appropriate aplomb his hunger for learning, his taste for adventure, and even his interest in a pretty little girl.

But the boy's intellectual and social awakening comes at a price, and the little actor shows just the right mix of fear and confusion as Moncho begins to understand that freedom and happiness are being yanked away from his family and his community as the revolution backlash comes.

A skilled, moving picture full of kind of emotional truth only a child can see, "The Butterfly" does dawdle at times, but any of its minor shortcomings are forgotten in the gripping and heartbreaking conclusion that burns on the brain the trampling of liberty that washed over Spain as the Fascist government rose to power.



Butterfly

Facts and Figures

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th September 1999

Production compaines: Par-Par Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Jess Tyler, as Kady Tyler, as Judge Rauch, as Mr. Gillespie, June Lockhart as Mrs. Helen Gillespie, Lois Nettleton as Belle Morgan, as Wash Gillespie, as Moke Blue, as Rev. Rivers

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.