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A Sort of Family

Una especie de familia

Adoption doesn’t go according to plan in this Argentinian knockout, when biological parents hold a nervy foster mother, brilliantly played by Bárbara Lennie, to ransom.

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Dir Diego Lerman
Prod Nicolas Avruj, Diego Lerman
Scr Diego Lerman, María Meira
With Bárbara Lennie, Daniel Araoz, Claudio Tolcachir
Sales Film Factory Entertainment

A would-be foster mother with an unstable personal life becomes a desperate outlaw in this emotionally shattering drama from one of Argentina’s brightest young talents. Malena, a 38-year-old doctor from Buenos Aires, is contemplating an illegal adoption. But the child’s biological parents demand more money after it’s born, leaving her feeling taken for a ride and prey to a panicked ambivalence. Going from strength-to-strength since his 2002 debut Suddenly, Diego Lerman offers a powerful story of class conflict and a captivating character study. Spanish lead Bárbara Lennie marvellously intuits Malena’s mid-life anxieties and terror of solitude. Regularly failing to hold it together, Malena can seem troublingly ill-equipped for motherhood, but the film holds out hope that she’ll make it through. It remains rivetingly unpredictable right to the last shot. You’ll be hard pressed to find many stronger performances this year.

Tim Robey


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