Media Maven: “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation” Movie Review

Media Maven: “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation” Movie Review

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“The Year My Parents Went on Vacation”
Michel Joelsas, Daniela Piepszyk, Germano Hunt, Simone Spoladore, Eduardo Moreira

“The Year My Parents Went on Vacation” is a little nugget of a movie. Staged in 1970, during the year of the Soccer World Cup, it tells the story of Mauro, a young ten-year-old boy. Mauro is left in Bom Retiro, Brazil with his grandfather while his parents flee underground to avoid political unrest and brutality. Not wanting to frighten Mauro or compromise his safety, his parents simply tell him they are going on a long vacation. This is a sensitive element to this film.

In the opening scene, Mauro is playing table soccer with chips and two goal posts. His mother is anxious. She is preparing for their exile and the tension is unnerving. Mauro fills his time imagining himself as a star goalie for Brazil.

Breakaway shots go from Mauro absorbed in his private world of table soccer to his mother’s world of fear that they are minutes away from certain execution. Mauro’s father telephones his wife to say he is coming. Mauro’s mother tells him to go outside. Like any 10-year-old, Mauro sits and sets up one more play. Out the door runs his mother to her husband and the dad enters the house chastising Mauro for not being ready. He reaches Mauro and tells him they have no more time. Yet he, too, an avid soccer fan cannot resist a final play and kneels next to Mauro. He sets up the play and lets Mauro have one more shot before they depart.

There were several scenes of human commonality that are the roots of this film, but it is this scene that so sweetly epitomizes the heart of this movie. In that moment we see the undeniable bond between father and son shared between fanatics, devoted Brazilian soccer fans. When his father says good-bye, he promises to return by the time World Cup Tournament begins.

Mauro gets to his grandfather’s home only to discover his grandfather died of a heart attack just hours before his arrival. Mauro is literally abandoned.

Here, this film leads us to a story about a young boy’s coming of age.  Although the backdrop is divided between the fierce loyalty of fans of Team Brazil and the desperate time in Brazil’s history, director Cao Hamburger confidently tells a story of redemption, loss and saving graces by the kindness of the community who befriend Mauro.

As far as foreign films go, this movie would delight any soccer fan. It will please anyone looking for a film that pulls at their heartstrings without all the Hollywood trimmings of special effects, graphic violence or stale storylines.

It was well acted by newcomer child actors Michel Joelsas and Daniela Piepszyk. If you are looking for something gentle, then this is the film for you.

Chic Stars: Three Chic Stars

Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasé, an enigma.