Candela Image


By Ryan Devir | October 23, 2023

It’s difficult for films to pull off the narrative trick of switching protagonists throughout a single story. Think of films like Moonlight, A Place Beyond The Pines, and Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla. Viewers tend to connect with the main character, and then they’re suddenly out of the picture, and you’re then faced with the challenge of having to win the audience over again with a new character. 

Candela navigates this shift in a way that not only works but makes sense for the story. The film starts off with an unlikable yet interesting character in Sera. Her life unfolds for the viewer, but you could sense that a 90-minute film about just her would be difficult to sustain. Just when we see the peak of Sera’s unlikability, Director Andrés Farías Cintrón leaves her on the back burner, and we immediately follow the repercussions of her actions. 

“A broodingly atmospheric film that tracks the ripple effect of corruption and murder…”

Lieutenant Perez becomes the antihero worth rooting for. The film really picks up emotionally through Perez’s hero journey. To shift from Perez to Candela’s story was difficult to digest at first. It felt very much like Bryan Cranston’s death in 2014 Godzilla. You become invested in his story, yet a bigger story is at play. Here, Candela shines again. Whereas Godzilla features Godzilla, an outside otherworldly unstoppable force that bursts in to make things better, Candela flips that on its ear and uses a hurricane as an unstoppable force approaching the shores of the Dominican Republic to prepare the audience for the inevitable wreckage of these character’s lives. 

In the end, Candela doesn’t perfect this narrative choice, but it certainly succeeds in telling a good story by giving the audience the right amount of time with each character. If you’re a fan of the anthology-style narrative and movies that wreck your day, you will want to turn on your neon light and watch Candela. Sometimes, you need a good gut punch. Figuratively, of course. 

Candela (2023)

Directed: Andrés Farías Cintrón

Written: Andrés Farías Cintrón, Laura Conyedo Barral

Starring: Sarah Jorge León, Félix Germán, César Domínguez, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Candela Image

"…a good gut punch."

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