El Cantante


El Cantante

Critics Consensus

El Cantante adheres to the most basic conventions of the musical biopic, rendering it indistinguishable from others of its ilk.



Total Count: 107


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,368
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Movie Info

"El Cantante" is the dramatic-biography of Puerto Rican salsa pioneer Hector Lavoe. The film follows Lavoe's passionate relationship with Puchi and his skyrocket to international fame. But, even when he has it all, Lavoe is unable to escape the allure of drugs and his personal pain.


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Critic Reviews for El Cantante

All Critics (107) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (80)

  • In fact, Lopez deserves praise for pushing this project. The recently deceased Puchi (who helped generate the script and pushed for Lopez to play her) is not the kind of character you see on screen every day.

    Sep 5, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • There is something entirely dead about Lopez's performance. No matter how superficially lively she makes it, she is always simply mouthing the lines. Never mind Jenny from the block. Jenny is the block. Of wood.

    Sep 5, 2008 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • The film, however, beginning with a flashback to 1963, is a soft-pedalled account of Lavoe's rise to fame and his drug-related downfall that has more in common with the biopic parody Walk Hard than anything as muddy as real life.

    Sep 5, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • This messy, maudlin portrait of the decline and decline of Puerto Rico-born salsa star Héctor Lavoe wavers uncertainly between cable channel biopic and socially concerned drug movie.

    Sep 5, 2008 | Rating: 2/6 | Full Review…

    Wally Hammond

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • This may be one of the very few biopics in which the subject is marginalized to the point of irrelevance.

    Aug 17, 2007 | Rating: 1/4
  • El Cantante has to legitimize its subject before it can immortalize him; and in the effort, it makes the mistake of letting a star get in the way of the truth.

    Aug 17, 2007 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for El Cantante

  • Aug 07, 2009
    Very enjoyable, good performances. Most biopics follow the same formula: star starts off poverty-stricken, small fish in a big pond, meets the right people by chance, becomes uber-successful, then the drugs, loose women come along, then tragedy. El Cantante doesn't stray from this formula either, but Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony's performances were good, very enjoyable, I think they really brought life to the real people they were portraying. Plus it didn't hurt that the salsa music was really infectious. I LOVE Marc Anthony's voice, I think its raw and mature and he was a wise choice for the role of Hector Lavoe.
    Remi L Super Reviewer
  • Jul 07, 2009
    Hector Lavoe? Who is he? A salsa legend? A drug addict? An immigrant from Peurto Rico? Well he was all three. Yet, this film isn't just about him, but also his personal and family life, along set with his wife Puchi there to keep him from destroying his own life. Either way, this film grasped me and made me really realize what Love and pain can do to a person, and Lopez and Anthony have a great chemistry onscreen and set of a blazing fire od charisma and sensational entertainment. For me it was a "Three and a Half out of Four" Stars picture. A Slight reccomendation.
    Joseph E Super Reviewer
  • Jan 11, 2009
    Marc Anthony gave a stellar performance. I have been a fan of his for a while. The movie is about the life of Hector Lavoe (Marc Anthony) from the point of view of his wife Puchi (Jennifer Lopez). The musical numbers are beautifully shot and edited. Marc was very instinctive and laid-back with his acting approach, but it worked wonders. The singing/concert scenes just seemed to validate his superb talents as a singer in his own right even more.
    April N Super Reviewer
  • Aug 24, 2007
    [size=3]"El Cantante," starring [b]Jennifer Lopez[/b] and [b]Marc Anthony[/b], is what I expected it to be: an extremely superficial, television-level biopic with great music and entertaining concert footage.[/size] [img]http://cdn.channel.aol.com/pmms/productpagemovies/04/05/2171640[/img] [size=3]It has some extra value as one of the rare American films about Latinos, and for this reason I think an effort should be made to see it. We're certainly not going to get better Latino-American movies if we don't support the precious few that do get made. But the shallowness of the film cannot be denied.[/size] [size=3]Jennifer Lopez is intriguingly positioned as one of the only Latin pop stars well known in white America. She's as famous as Madonna, which is a stunning achievement on her part. She could substantially broaden the horizons of the white community by in a sense teaching them about Latin culture. That strikes me as a very important cultural enterprise that could also have important socio-political implications.[/size] [img]http://www.pastemagazine.com/images/articles/4678_image_1.jpg[/img] [size=3]With this film, as superficial as it is, Lopez and husband Marc Anthony have introduced a broader audience to Puerto Rican legend Hector Lavoie, who teamed up with Willie Colon in New York City in the 1970s to create the rhythmic, percussive style that came to be known as salsa.[/size] [size=3]As an example of how films like this can expand white horizons, I left "El Cantante" seriously wanting to know more about Lavoie, Colon and the rest of the salsa scene.[/size] [img]http://us.movies1.yimg.com/movies.yahoo.com/images/hv/photo/movie_pix/picturehouse/el_cantante/jennifer_lopez/elcantante1.jpg[/img] [size=3]At the start of the movie, Hector is already an adult and already a singer. We meet him in Puerto Rico when he is about to embark on his move to New York. The vast majority of the film takes place in New York, where he meets the woman who will become his wife and lifelong partner. We watch him meet Colon and explode onto the salsa scene. Additionally, we are along for the ride when he discovers heroin, which would be his undoing.[/size] [size=3]There are a couple of moments where it's suggested that the couple might have been bisexual, and that perhaps this is how he caught the HIV virus, which killed him in the 1980s. If he was indeed regularly having sex with men, the film certainly blurs that out of the story. But that's really neither here nor there. The important thing to know about Lavoie is that he was a musical genius. And more Americans should know this.[/size] [size=3]Kudos to Lopez and Anthony for trying to bring his story to a wider audience.[/size]
    William D Super Reviewer

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