Machuca (2004)


Critic Consensus: Machuca is a touchingly bittersweet story of childhood friendship and a demonstration of how the political affects the personal.


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Movie Info

Santiago, Chile, 1973: Pedro Machuca is a poor boy of tribal descent, brought into an upper class private school during Chile's brief socialist era. Gonzalo, the well-to-do boy seated a row ahead, befriends Pedro against the bullying will of his classmates. In so doing, he discovers a raw, thrilling but wildly complicated world outside his own previously sheltered homelife. Pedro's fierce, attractive young neighbor Silvana by turns mocks Gonzalo's pampered background, only to fondly lead both boys in a number of kissing games. All around them, Chile drifts towards civil war. The enormous rift between Gonzalo's comfortable household and Pedro's hard-scrabble life a few miles away in an illegal shantytown ultimately becomes impossible to bridge, once the bloody military coup of September 11, 1973 erupts. All three children suddenly face moral tests far beyond their young capacities.


Matías Quer
as Gonzalo Infante
Ariel Mateluna
as Pedro Machuca
Ernesto Malbran
as Father McEnroe
Aline Küppenheim
as Maria Luisa Infante
Federico Luppi
as Roberto Ochagavia
Francisco Reyes
as Patricio Infante
Luis Dubó
as Ismael Machuca
Maria Olga Matte
as Miss Gilda
Pablo Krögh
as Colonel Sotomayor
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Critic Reviews for Machuca

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (13)

Though the film would benefit from further cuts, Machuca still manages to convey the frailty of convictions and the difficulties of growing up -- be it a child or a nation.

May 26, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Thanks to a pristine eye for period detail and strong acting skills by the entire cast, there's no need for the script to press any points.

Jan 13, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Seattle Times
Top Critic

A fine, exciting film that makes a bloody historical event live all over again by showing it through the eyes of children on the edges of the conflict.

Dec 9, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4

That rare film that merges the personal and political without sacrificing restraint or intellectual honesty.

Nov 18, 2005 | Full Review…

[The film has] an unerring eye for time and place that's counterbalanced by an overly passive, if sympathetic, central character.

Oct 21, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

It's a sensitively wrought work that reveals a time in Chile when class differences were both ignored and emphasized, depending on your perspective.

Jul 15, 2005 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Machuca

This was a great movie! You got to learn of a true historical story and get a nice heart warming tale of two friends. The young people in this film displayed wonderful acting skills.

Jarrin Rozenblad
Jarrin Rozenblad

Super Reviewer

The film may be a little slow, but it's also heart-warming, beatifully shot and rewarding. The director doesn't go for cheap tears, which the story could've brought, but rather goes for effective storytelling and painful realism in it's characters.

Quinto Wallight
Quinto Wallight

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]In "Machuca," it is 1973 in Santiago as democracy in Chile is undergoing its death throes. Gonzalo(Matias Quer) struggles to make sense of the chaotic situation as the only stores open are the black market. His mother(Aline Kuppenheim) has an affair with an older man to get the goods her family needs including the Lone Ranger books her son loves. At the private school Gonzalo attends, five indigent local students are admitted, one of whom, Pedro(Ariel Mateluna), he befriends, going so far as to help him and his older sister, Silvana(Manuela Martelli), sell flags at demonstrations.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"Machuca" is an ordinary and superficial coming-of-age movie with strong echoes of "Au Revoir Les Enfants" whose sole distinction is its setting which it does not take full advantage of. "Blame It on Fidel" did a much better job of showing a conflicted world through a child's eyes.[/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


A movie that takes an average coming of age template and mixes it with the true story of social changes in 1970s Chile. Good acting by the main characters, especially for child actors. If the title character, Machuca, was given more of a reason for his name to be the title than the film could have been better, or have reached a different direction, but it is still a well made film, and I learned about some Chilean history that I was not aware of before hand.

Aaron Neuwirth
Aaron Neuwirth

Super Reviewer

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