I’ve never watched a foreign film before, but when my daughter needed to view one for a Spanish class project, I sat down and watched Instructions Not Included with her.
It was a great choice for my first foreign movie.
The movie is the type that needs some time to unfold so the first 15-20 minutes are used to set the stage. Included in these opening scenes are the odd ways a father teaches his young son, Valentin (Eugenio Derbez) to overcome fear. The antics used to strengthen the boy’s courage become increasing strange with each new lesson. The lessons finally end when the father tosses Valentin off a high cliff into the waters below.
Needless to say this approach to parenting has an adverse effect on Valentin as an adult.
The final piece of the stage is set when Julie, a white, American girl, becomes romantically involved with Valentin and, unbeknownst to him gives birth to a beautiful young daughter, Maggie. But, Julia can’t handle being a single mother so she drops Maggie off at Valentin’s and disappears for the next six years.
Valentin, who up until this point had been a player in and out of relationships, is not ready for domestic life. But in time, the young daughter grows on him and he becomes a good father — with only a few minor defects.
I won’t go into the actually story because I don’t want ruin your viewing, but most of the story is told when the daughter is six or seven years old. The movie is worth watching just for the performance of the child actor, Loreto Peralta.
Instructions Not Included is currently available on Netflix.
Rated 5 out of 5. This is definitely one of the best movies I have watched. The jokes are funny and the plot twists keep you on your toes. Be forewarned, though, parts of the movie may bring tears to your eyes.