Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 37


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,594
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Machuca Photos

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 (14)

Audience Reviews for Machuca

  • Nov 01, 2014
    I will perpetually applaud not only the bravery involved in the delivery of these controversial, anti-political celluloid deliveries whenever they are made, but also the commitment behind these projects such that the national film industry of the country being considered is put on the map. Moreover, there is rarely a more humble and equally straightforward honest perspective of a sociopolitical turmoil than that of the domestic perspective. So, thank God, Machuca is a Chilean film about the Chilean coup d'état, and it delivers its punches strongly without the need of being propagandistic or sensationalist. Set in Santiago de Chile shortly before the military coup of Augusto Pinochet in 1973 and during the highly controversial socialist government of Salvador Allende, famous for being the first Marxist politician to become president of a Latin American country through open elections, Machuca tells the simple story of a privileged Chilean boy, Gonzalo Infante, that befriends a lower-class classmate, Pedro Machuca, after their school undergoes the social administration changes of Father McEnroe, the Catholic and socialist director of the school who greatly encourages social equality among classes. As it is expected, discrimination ensues not only between the classmates, but between the professors as well. After Infante refuses the social pressure from a bunch of kids who were ordering Infante to mistreat Machuca, both Infante and Machuca become friends. Then, Infante decides to accompany Machuca to his home, and meets his family and his cousin Silvana, a family dedicated to sell flags at rival political protests. The film adopts the perspective of Infante, which is the first relevant point of discussion, because the movie's title references the counterparty in this young relationship. This should be a direct indicator of the fact that one of the endless topics of the film is about accepting the social and economic life circumstances of the "different classes" - although there is no such thing as being a "different" human being than others - in an attempt to reach a societal consensus. Even if this sounds as a utopia, the definition of "utopia" does not entail impossibility. In short, utopias are possible. In a time where the lower classes were being politically mobilized in Chile from one condition to another like ping-pong balls, it is then necessary to witness this reality from a more "privileged" point of view like that of Infante so that the tragedy is left implied and the overall result cannot be perceived as emotionally biased or manipulative. In this way, when you go from seeing empty classrooms with boys of all classes to having only wealthy boys with clean faces and pretty uniforms, a statement has been spoken. It is terrifying and tragic at the same time. The point of the paragraph above is that, plotwise, the protagonist is Infante, but thematically, the real protagonist is Machuca and the mobilization of classes derived from intolerance, thus justifying the film's main argument about the importance of considering an opposite point of view. To accentuate this point of having an "utopian" (sorry if I use the quotations marks a lot but my guts have been forcing me throughout this review) exchange of perspectives to reach a harmonic consensus, we have a key scene of utmost importance, which simultaneously signals the film's main statement and disguises it as an arousing symbolisms of sexual discovery during youth: Silvana exchanges kisses with Infante and Machuca in a prolonged sequence while eating condensed milk. "Brilliant" is the best adjective I can come up with to describe it. By the time the strike arrives, and disaster ensues, the burned and destroyed can of condensed milk near the ending becomes the perfect symbol of this "sweet and affectionate exchange of realities" being consciously destroyed. Machuca is a powerful film meant to be understood by worldwide masses instead of only adopting a biased right-wing or left-wing perspective for empathizing with a single group. It is important because it has a universal message, and universality does not adopt sides. Covering aspects of poverty vs. wealth, Socialism vs. intolerance, news media vs. ignorance, news media as a source of ignorance, sexuality, irresponsible parenthood, education vs. religion, childhood innocence being broken by unspeakable human cruelties, and conflicts of almost all sorts, this almost-masterpiece by Chile speaks important truths that should be considered by all kinds of audiences, and puts Chilean cinema on the map once again, which is as scarce as most of the cinema that comes out of Latin America. 95/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 03, 2008
    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 R Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2008
    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 W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 17, 2007
    [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 Super Reviewer

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