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

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.