El Cantante (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

El Cantante (2007)



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

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.more
Rating: R (for drug use, pervasive language and some sexuality)
Genre: Musical & Performing Arts, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Leon Ichaso, David Darmstaedter, Todd Anthony Bello, David Darmstaeder
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 30, 2007
Box Office: $7.5M
Picturehouse - Official Site


Marc Anthony
as Hector Lavoe
John Ortiz
as Willie Colon
Vincent Laresca
as Ralph Mercado
Nelson Vasquez
as Johnny Pacheco
Michael Caputo
as Salsa Dancer
Marcus Collins
as Photographer
Anibal De Gracia
as Trombonist
Tony Devon
as Record Executive
Romi Dias
as Priscilla
Deirdre Lorenz
as Willie's Girl
Vianca Mercedes
as Cuban Bartender
Victor Manuelle
as Rubén Blades
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for El Cantante

Critic Reviews for El Cantante

All Critics (107) | Top Critics (37)

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.

Full Review… | September 5, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

This may be one of the very few biopics in which the subject is marginalized to the point of irrelevance.

Full Review… | August 17, 2007
Toronto Star
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | August 17, 2007
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

This is an entertaining biopic that's worth seeing for the terrific musical sequences and for the superb performances by Anthony and Lopez. Recommended.

Full Review… | September 5, 2008

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.

Full Review… | September 5, 2008
This is London

Leon Ichaso's film soft-pedals everything save the language in what often resembles a made-for-cable biopic.

Full Review… | September 5, 2008
Daily Telegraph

Audience Reviews for El Cantante

[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]


[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]


[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]


[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]

Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer


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 Eastmond

Super Reviewer


About as generic as musician biopics come. Lopez is especially grating.

William Goss

Super Reviewer

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