Felices 140 (Happy 140): Film Review

Part of the Spanish Film Festival, Felices 140 (Happy 140) stars Mirabel Verdu as Elia, a woman throwing herself an elaborate 40th birthday party in a remote villa. She invites her sister’s family and her lifelong friends as well as an old lover, who shows up in a helicopter with a self-centred and vain girlfriend half his age. This consistently amusing film takes a twisted turn, after Elia reveals she’s won €140 million.

Envy and resentment bubbling below the surface rises quickly as a moral crisis threatens Elia’s happiness. Interestingly, Elia’s grand romantic gesture to sweep her old flame off his feet is an unfamiliar twist on usual romantic comedy fodder.

Audiences are invited to champion this type of behaviour in men, even as the betrothed woman love interest protests (inevitably, she always relents, teaching heterosexual male audiences that all women can, and should be, be conquered even against her will). Not so for a woman protagonist, for whom this type of masculine behaviour invites from audiences frustration and a sense of danger.

The film goes in an unexpected direction, as Spanish films always do, leaving the audience pensive and sympathetic for the tragedy and greed that unfolds. Definitely watch it.

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