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.



Reviews Counted: 107

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,373


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.5/5

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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 (37)

  • 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…
  • 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 | Full Review…
  • 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…
  • I would have liked to have seen a more in-depth look at the salsa movement. Still, we do get a lot of great music, and Anthony is a natural onscreen in a tailor-made role.

    Aug 9, 2007
  • Marc Anthony plays the smack-addicted singer, who has some dynamite numbers but not much to say for himself.

    Aug 9, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for El Cantante

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 Logan
Remi Logan

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
Joseph Eastmond

Super Reviewer

[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 Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer


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

William Goss
William Goss

Super Reviewer

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