Instructions Not Included

From the moment I heard about this movie, I wanted to see it. The plot seemed cute and entertaining. But my interest was piqued by a film, predominately in Spanish, coming to a theater near me.

It wasn’t promoted as a “foreign film” or “indie” or anything else. Just a new release… that happens to be in Spanish.

So I badgered Billy about going. Date nights are rare for these two parents. Still, he graciously gave me movie pick on our recent night out.

He was also interested because the lead, Eugenio Derbez, is “unquestionably one of Mexico’s best-known actors,” according to IMDB.com.

Billy just kept saying, “He’s so famous. He’s so funny. I mean, he’s the Spanish voice of the donkey in Shrek!” I was embarrassed to say I’d never heard of him.

Instructions Not Included did not disappoint, though it was different than I expected.

Mainly, from Billy’s raving about Derbez, I expected it to be a comedy. It is not. It is a funny movie, but I also cried. I didn’t see that coming.

But the movie was a sweet journey of a man-child becoming a true father and all the growing up that entails. And the little girl was absolutely precious and stole the show.

What I loved about this movie, though, was something different. I couldn’t stop thinking about how the characters didn’t have to be Mexican.

What I mean is that the story was universal. And in this situation, the characters simply happened to be Mexican. However, it wasn’t a movie that swung the other way and pretended the characters weren’t Mexican.

Nope. They had to cross the border. He had to struggle to interact without speaking English. And his daughter often served as his translator.

I loved the weaving of these cultural experiences into a story about family and conquering fear.

Lately, I see immigrant experiences popping up everywhere… in movies that aren’t about immigration. And I love it!

Instructions Not Included was a really fun and endearing movie. A great date night! And hey, we do love movies with subtitles…

Oh, and one of my favorite jokes? Derbez rushes to the ticketing counter at the airport in Mexico. “I’m looking for a girl… American… kinda hippie?” The attendant nods her head, and he turns around.

It’s a line full of white girls wearing floor-length skirts and dreadlocks looking back. I laughed out loud!

What movies have you seen lately that you recommend?

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  1. Laura H11:36 AM

    Hi Sarah! Thanks for your blog! I would recommend a French movie that I saw last week called The
    Intouchables. It is based on a true story and is about a wealthy man
    who is a quadriplegic who hires a young African immigrant to be his care
    taker. It is an uplifting story that deals with issues of class and
    culture and how people are better off when they reach across boundaries.

  2. Oooh, thanks for the recommendation, Laura! I will have to check it out!


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A Life with Subtitles. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.