My Hindu Friend Review
Diego (William Dafoe) is a brilliant Brazilian director who is suffering from cancer: estranged from his brother for ten long years he is desperately trying to reconnect before its too late. This is a hard task for him. Diego struggles to connect with anybody including his new wife Livia (Maria Fernando Candido) – he cannot help but cheat on her and push away those that love him. Travelling to Seattle for a bone marrow treatment he meets a young Hindu boy having chemotherapy who shows him that it is not a matter of healing his illness but the rift between himself and his loved ones.
William Dafoe unsurprisingly owns this performance. He is quiet using facial expressions to demonstrate an incredible range of emotions. Then out of nowhere he is explosive! Driving the action forward in a powerful moment of dynamic performing. Diego as our main character – with the most amount of screen time – is vital to the performance and he brings it big-time. The supporting cast act with varying degree of success, made to look average as they bask in the glow of Dafoe.
The plot of this film is fresh and original – the protagonist is unlikable, cheating on his wife and abusing those around him. It is a rare twist in which I found myself rooting not for the lead but his loved ones. His friends and family stood at his side supporting him even at his worst and though the plot is jarring at points it is this originality that is so commendable.
My main issue was with the dialogue which is bogged down with the medical jargon and descriptions. This undercuts the emotional moments making the film feel awkward and stilted at points. It pulls the audience away from the story of suffering and loss that unfolds with Diego and his family.
Director Hector Babenco said that the plot for this film is based loosely on events from his own experience which gives the film a sort of raw edge – it makes it feel real and alive. Characters are deeply flawed and not necessarily heroic. Like the real choice decisions we make, this film can be hard and uncomfortable. It is a brilliant reflection of the world of suffering and the damage we do to each other as human beings. Though there are some flaws this film finds a way to capture the human experience with a realistic flare.
My Hindu Friend will be released on Amazon Prime on the 1st of June 2020.
Written by George Marshall
Edited by Isobella Norman