Summer 1993







Laia Artigas gives a superb performance as six-year-old Frida, a character clearly based on writer-director Carla Simón herself. As the movie begins, this young orphan is being driven away to the country, to be raised by uncle Esteve (David Verdaguer) and aunt Marga (Bruna Cusi). Simón gives us the backstory slowly, through ominous hints: shame surrounding the parents’ deaths, regular visits to the doctor for Frida, panic when she cuts her knee on the playground.

This youngster is a mysterious, unsettling presence at first—all wide, burning eyes and blank facial expressions. The focus of nearly every scene, Frida gets more and more troublesome as the film goes on, until she lets go with an emotional outpouring that’s as moving as it is convincing. This is a supremely restrained film, but it’s far from tranquil: its quiet tone conceals a core of love and grief.

100% Fresh, Rotten Tomatoes

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