Neruda

2016, History/Drama, 1h 47m

156 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Inventive, intelligent, and beautifully filmed, Neruda transcends the traditional biopic structure to look at the meaning beyond the details of its subject's life. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

A determined police inspector (Gael García Bernal) searches for Chilean politician Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) after he goes into hiding in 1948.

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Critic Reviews for Neruda

Audience Reviews for Neruda

  • Apr 12, 2017
    According to Picasso, as depicted in this film, the poet Neruda was the most important communist of his day. One who gave a voice to the victims of fascist oppression in Chile, and in the world. The biopic doesn't reject that idea, but dilutes it. Minimising its portrayal of the deprivations that Neruda challenged under threat of his own freedom, it paints him philosophically. It sets up a kind of Marxist "dialectic", in which Neruda and his fascist persecutor are the creators of each other, even brothers in a metaphysical sense. It concentrates on Neruda's bourgeois inclinations, quotes often a romantic passage, has him making poetic statements as he goes, and dots the screenplay with his expeditions out of hiding to visit brothels; sometimes he's disguised as a priest. The film cuts regularly to debauchery. By contrast, his persecutor is a lower class, illegitimate upstart who has no life, whose intellect is obsessed with this love/hate bond, and who chases Neruda across impossible distances in a kind of via crucis. To Neruda's devilish character, he becomes a Christ figure. Supporting characters engage in oblique arguments about the politics and what Neruda symbolises. As long as there was Neruda, the fascism would not die, and vice versa. But with all this theorising, how much do we learn about Neruda, and how much about the filmmakers' game? The show is like an honours student essay, that wants to get a top mark by playing subversively and idiosyncratically with the main point - not only the Marxist one, but presumably Neruda's as well, so that in the end it doesn't teach you much: who can say how much of this is historically accurate? The product may though deliver for anyone who thinks that Neruda's communism should be watered down, regardless.
    . . Super Reviewer
  • Mar 04, 2017
    Intelligent, humorous and inventive, Larraín's film is especially impressive due to the way it uses a cat-and-mouse game as the basis for a metalinguistic exercise instead of being a conventional biography about the poet, and it has some very fine performances by the whole cast.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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