'Valentin': Adorable or Abominable? You Be the Judge
By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 21, 2004; Page WE49
Set in the late 1960s, Alejandro Agresti's film has one unmistakable centerpiece: Child actor Rodrigo Noya. As the 8-year-old Valentin, who lives with his grandmother (Carmen Maura) in Buenos Aires, he's a dynamo. (To this W.C. Fields-spirited reviewer he's so precocious, it's obnoxious. The kid chews up the scenery like a baby T-Rex, egged on, no doubt, by director Agresti. In fact, with his big glasses and equally large swagger, he suggests the devil spawn of Austin Powers. But many others will enjoy him as merely charming and an integral part of the picture.)
Noya has one burning wish: to be back with his mother, who is separated from Valentin's abusive, unnamed father (played by Agresti), who uses him like a chick magnet. One of those women, Leticia (Julieta Cardinali), becomes Valentin's friend. The seemingly plotless film pretty much revolves around Valentin as a constantly-arguing-but-life-affirming presence in everyone's life. If you feel the same way about the child actor, you stand to be quite charmed.
VALENTIN (PG-13, 87 minutes) --Contains intense thematic elements and some obscenity. In Spanish with subtitles. At the Cineplex Odeon Dupont Circle and Landmark's Bethesda Row.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company