Here is a holiday film that is not only family-friendly, but clearly targeted towards a Hispanic-centric audience. Unfortunately it is not getting the kind of full-court press publicity that it totally deserves. This is the kind of Holiday film that you want to see, not so much full of bogus sentimentality and holiday schmaltz, it is a well-made film about love, faith and redemption. As stated (and is obvious by the film’s title) the movie has a very strong Latin flavor (and is populated with several Telemundo stars), but its subject matter — which is cloaked in the Christmas spirit, is universal.
Tito, (Luis Antonio Ramos) a widower struggling with the recent loss of his beloved wife, has also lost both his hope and his faith, as he is consumed by the pressures of caring for his two young daughters as well as attempting to keep his failing small Spanish Harlem grocery store running. He also has a mentally challenged stock worker Ernesto Rodriguez de la Torre (Adrian Martinez), whom he tries to fire, but Ernesto has such OCD, he knows he has to show up at 7:00 A.M. and work ‘til 5:00 P.M. on the dot. (Yeah, he gets that he’s fired, but he knows that Tito needs his help, and insists that he doesn’t need to be paid.) Tito struggles to tell Ernesto that he can’t afford to keep him, but Ernesto’s winning personality (and the attention he garners from a very pretty customer, Eva (Kate del Castillo) helps convince Tito to keep him on.
Eva and Tito hit it off, and go out on a couple of dates, only Tito is embarrassed when his credit card is refused but Eva’s is accepted (his machismo pride very nearly ruins their budding romance), but he gets over it long enough to allow his softer side to accept her generosity. Still, Tito’s growing bitterness over his failing business, the death of his wife, and life in general overshadows the best parts of his character causing him to pull a very shady stung in his store that only adds disgrace to his woes. Now, without a friend left on earth, nothing short of a miracle can relieve Tito’s crushing and solitary burdens. However, miracles have been known to happen.
Sure the story is fairly predictable, bur it is certainly heartfelt, and comes as a very pleasant film during this holiday season. The film is mostly in English, with some (subtitled) Spanish sections.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.