Bienvenido a casa (Welcome Home) (2006)




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With his gentle ensemble comedy Bienvenido a casa (aka Welcome Home), Spanish director David Trueba meditates on one man's passage from youth to the emotional maturity of adulthood. In the process, Trueba takes a wise and reflective look at the dynamics of contemporary relationships, romantic and otherwise. Alejo Sauras is Samuel, an aspiring photographer who makes the broad leap from his rural village in the Spanish countryside -- where he lives under the thumb of his domineering mother -- to the wonderland of urban Madrid. He moves in with his girlfriend, Eva (Pilar Lopez de Ayala), and accepts a position as resident photojournalist for a local culture magazine, where his eccentric colleagues include a slightly embittered, blind movie critic (with a blind guide dog), a burnt-out sports columnist, and a depressed vocalist/instrumentalist who pens the music column. Through the various employees, Trueba reveals a spectrum of attitudes toward love and romance. The remainder of the story finds Samuel teaming up with the magazine's reporter, Sandra, for an investigative story on a murder related to human trafficking. Meanwhile, Samuel begins to grapple, privately, with problems in his marital life -- specifically, how to preserve the love, romance, and devotion he feels for Eva (and she for him). Samuel's watchful mother cautions him not to repeat the same mistakes that she once made -- but the past comes back to haunt Samuel in the guise of a fateful encounter with a childhood friend, Nieves. Then, suddenly, Eva announces her pregnancy. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi


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