Passionada

"Very Good"

Passionada Review


At first glance, Passionada may sound like a movie playing "after dark" on some seedy cable channel. To the contrary, the passion described in the title does not occur between the sheets; rather, it's the passion the characters of this small, genuine, Portuguese romantic comedy have for life and each other.

Set in the fishing town of New Bedford, Massachusetts, a beautiful middle-aged Portuguese woman, Celia Amonte (Sofia Milos) uses her day job as a seamstress to support her teenage daughter Vicky (Emmy Rossum) in the house she shares with her mother-in-law (Lupe Ontiveros). At night, she sings and dances at a local restaurant to a more somber beat, using her music as an expression for the loss she feels over her husband's death. Even seven years after his death, Celia feels she could never love another, despite Vicky's attempts to set her up on various online dates. When an English drifter and professional gambler named Charlie (Jason Isaacs) rolls in town to clean out the local casino, he quickly becomes taken with Celia and tries every trick in the book to con his way into her heart.

Charlie's aggressiveness turns Celia off, as well as us in the audience. The open-heartedness of Passionada makes it very easy to instantly connect with the Amonte family struggles, especially the aversion Celia has to moving on with her life. As the film progresses, and Charlie's attempts to win over Celia intensify, Passionada borders on being uncomfortable to watch. We know the real Charlie is a fraud, and because we now have a vested interest in the Amontes' plight, we're fearful Celia is destined to get her fragile heart broken again.

One of the film's biggest themes is being able confront the past and offer second chances to those who deserve them. Unfortunately, this makes Passionada entirely too predictable -- even its website boasts there is a "happy ending worth celebrating." There's no mistaking how it will finish; yet, director Dan Ireland adds so much depth and life to his film (compared to most romantic comedies) that the conventional story is outweighed by the film's charm. Passionada succeeds in placing us in the small fishing town where Ireland takes full advantage of his surroundings by enveloping us with beautiful pink-toned sunsets, gentle sweeping city vistas, and painted blue backdrops with fishing ships gracefully pulling to shore. Combined with a splash of Portuguese culture, food, and fado (Portuguese folk music), we see the true passion for life these people share.

Passionada can easily be described as this year's My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Both films' successes can be linked to the dynamic individuals at the core of their respective stories executed with performances that are first rate. Milos is highly compelling as the torn Celia - her pain plainly visible in her rumpled, withdrawn eyes. The striking Rossum struggles with her own identity, yet doesn't resort to playing Vicky with the typical teen angst we would expect. And as the family matriarch widowed for 35 years, Ontiveros doesn't come across as a bitter woman from the old world; rather, she is nurturing to the sensitivities of both the younger women and encourages them to improve their lives. Passionada shines through its predictability to carve a fascinating slice of life fable with an infectious charm.

Giddy from the go-round.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 16th June 2002

Box Office USA: $0.5M

Distributed by: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Fresh: 26 Rotten: 19

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Dan Ireland

Producer:

Starring: as Charles Beck, as Celia Amonte, as Vicky Amonte, as Lois Vargas, as Daniel Vargas

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

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.