I Have Electric Dreams (2023)

I Have Electric Dreams (2023)

A searing, beautifully acted coming-of-age drama about the collapse of a family

7.8

Movie

Belgium, Costa Rica
Spanish
Drama
2023
FEMALE DIRECTOR, VALENTINA MAUREL
Daniela Marín Navarro, José Pablo Segreda Johanning, Mayté Ortega
103 min

TLDR

The perfect(ly depressing) addition to your daddy issues watchlist.

What it's about

Sixteen-year-old Eva navigates life in the middle of her parents' tumultuous divorce and her own budding sexuality.

The take

There's a remarkable harshness to every moment of I Have Electric Dreams, even if it doesn't seem like much is happening. Beautiful textures in its cinematography and the dreamlike movement of its editing can't mask the pain that protagonist Eva feels, as she drifts through the ruin of her own family in search of any shred of comfort or anything she can still call her own. There's tension in every interaction she has, as this messy divorce has torn down any divide between parent and child—revealing Eva to be both more mature and more naive than she realizes, and revealing her parents as still stuck in their own insecurities. It's frequently difficult viewing that gets surprisingly graphic, but the film's ear for character is undeniable.

What stands out

Even in its performances, I Have Electric Dreams constantly feels like it's about to break. Daniela Marín Navarro never plays her being a teenager as some idealization of youth; she's as messy and unglamorous as the character is meant to be. And in a similar way, Reinaldo Amien Gutiérrez's father character balances perfectly between being frightening just to be around, and pitiful to look at. That both actors still manage to reach tender moments together—despite all the conflict between their characters—is nothing short of impressive.

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