Mexican Dream Image

Mexican Dream

By Benjamin Franz | April 15, 2024

Writer-director Laura Plancarte’s cinema verité documentary, Mexican Dream, focuses on the life and times of co-writer María Magdalena Reyes. Reyes fled an abusive relationship and returned to Mexico. She is an older woman who would like to create a child with her new partner. To do so, Reyes needs to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF). This leads to misgivings, trials, and tribulations.

One of my favorite sequences of several charming scenes is when Reyes goes to a dinner with other women in a support group. Besides watching the making of carné asado, there are many delicate and funny “home remedies” cited for infertility. One woman even mentions she swam in special waters and then scheduled sex with her husband on specific days to develop a rhythm to assist her body in becoming pregnant. The suggestion that the bed has to face the sunrise is especially delightful.

Regardless of whether it makes sense for Reyes to pursue IVF, life continues. This includes several of Reyes’ older children, including her mother and her boyfriend. It becomes clear on one of the occasions Reyes’s boyfriend drives her to work, she is not thrilled with the work schedule the wealthy family she serves demands. It gives her almost no free time. In the States, she muses, and she always has two days off. Between the difficulty in getting pregnant, the threat of her boyfriend leaving her if she proves infertile, and her grown children blocking her on Facebook, Reyes has quite a set of trials to overcome. This is the sort of character that documentarians live to tell the story of — someone with complex interpersonal relationships and great tribulations set before them.

“…Reyes needs to undergo in vitro fertilization.”

Mexican Dream, being a slice of life, does not provide pat resolutions to any of the issues its subject faces. Do not misconstrue; some good things, such as her housing situation, do happen, but it’s not a dramatic arc; it is real life. The tapestry of Reyes’s life is fascinating. By the time this film concluded, I felt as though I had seen a rather satisfying year in the life of a person working to achieve a little slice of heaven where she could.

Plancarte has made a delightful movie with Mexican Dream. Shot in natural light on digital video, this has the feel of one of those Dogma 95 movies that used to come out of Denmark. The music is largely diegetic, and there are no flashy scenes for their own sake. Staring at this picture, I find it hard to understand why people would leave Mexico City as it seems to be a great place. Heck, thanks to the doc, I’m now toying with the idea of retiring there. After all, the prospect of owning your own home seems more feasible in places that aren’t the United States.

Documentary fans would do well to seek out Mexican Dream. It’s a wholesome slice of life that shows that even if things don’t go so great for our protagonist, life is still absolutely worth living.

Mexican Dream (2024)

Directed: Laura Plancarte

Written: Laura Plancarte, María Magdalena Reyes

Starring: María Magdalena Reyes, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Mexican Dream Image

"…life is still absolutely worth living."

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