In Spanish comedy, Honeymoon with My Mother (aka Amor de Madre), José Luis Panizo is left heartbroken when his bride-to-be ditches him at the altar. Having spent a fortune on the wedding, he is now left standing on the side-lines, out of love and out of pocket, and he feels seriously down in the dumps.
In light of his wedding day disaster, the only thing he has left to do is cancel the honeymoon, but the travel agent isn’t going to let that happen any time soon, and instead suggests an alternative. Rather than cancel the booking, José Luis can take his mother, Mari Carmen, on vacation instead – something which she is very much on board with.
After jetting off to Mauritius, the pair find themselves at a luxurious hotel, keen to cater for their every need. However, in order to ensure they don’t get kicked out of their accommodation, José Luis and Mari Carmen have to pretend to be newlyweds for the entirety of their stay.
While Mari Carmen is more than happy to go along with the ruse, and indulge in everything the hotel has to offer, José Luis is very unhappy with the arrangement. All he can think about is his failed relationship, and how frustrating it is to be on the holiday of a lifetime with his mother.
Can the two find common ground and make the most of the situation or will it all become a little too much for the pair? And more importantly, will this trip away prove to be a life-changing experience that will alter their outlook when they return home?
Directed by Paco Caballero and starring Quim Gutiérrez and Carmen Machi, Honeymoon with My Mother is a bright and breezy comedy, which is new to Netflix. The movie centres around the strained relationship between a son and his mother, taking various opportunities to play up the comical aspect of their unusual holiday situation to gain some laughs.
For the most part, the story plays out as expected, with no major surprises, but the film has plenty of light moments in all the right places. Early into the story there is a focus on José Luis and Mari Carmen going through the motions as they pretend to be married and this produces a few chuckles here and there.
But as the movie progresses it becomes clear there is a little more depth to the story than just an ‘odd couple’ on holiday. The film delves into deeper issues surrounding mother and son, and this allows for some touching moments and an exploration of both characters.
So, what starts off as a farce, soon develops a significant amount of heart. And while Honeymoon with My Mother might not have the strongest narrative, it does have some substance, which comes to the surface as the story progresses.
Honeymoon with My Mother also benefits from good performances from its lead actors. The relationship between José Luis and Mari Carmen is pivotal to making this movie come together and I believe a great deal of its strength lies in the combination of Quim Gutiérrez and Carmen Machi.
Machi in particular looks like she’s having a ball in this film and really throwing herself into it. She plays a woman who has reached a point in her life where she just wants to have a laugh, and not take things too seriously, and Machi nails this perfectly.
And with regard to the cast, the film also includes a great comedic role for supporting player, Yolanda Ramos, as hotel manager, Montse. Ramos only plays a small part in the film but she gets a couple of very funny moments that really allow her character to stand out.
Combine all of the above with a picture-perfect setting, a couple of well-placed pop songs, and the general feeling that all involved in the production enjoyed making this film, and Honeymoon with My Mother is not a bad way to spend a couple of hours. Once it pushes beyond its basic premise the film has something to offer, and there’s much fun to be had along the way.