La verguenza

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When an adoptee makes life increasingly hellish for his or her foster parents, at what point does it become ethically appropriate for the couple to return the child? That's the question posed by this earnest melodrama from Spain, helmed by director David Parnell. Manu (Brandon Lastra), an 8-year-old Peruvian boy, suffers from severe emotional dysfunction - he vacillates between sullen introversion and wild bouts of hyperactivity - and carries around a troubled personal history that witnessed his rejection by two different sets of foster parents. He falls into the custody of a middle-class Spanish couple, Lucia (Natalia Mateo) and Pepe (Alberto San Juan), who ultimately feel ill-at-ease with him and frightened of his behavioral extremities; Pepe considers returning Manu to social services, though Lucia disagrees, and begins to notice an unusual bond forming between Manu and their Peruvian housekeeper, Rosa (Norma Martinez). As Lucia and Pepe meet with Social Services to discuss options and Rosa takes Manu to a local birthday party, dark and long-buried secrets emerge that threaten to tear this fragile foster family asunder. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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