OTHER TOM, THE
[EL OTRO TOM]
The latest feature by award-winning Mexican filmmaker Rodrigo Plá (DESIERTO ADENTRO, A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS, THE ZONE) is based on a novel by co-director/writer Laura Santullo and follows the journey of a single mother, blue-collar worker Elena (Julia Chávez), and her nine-year-old son Tom (Israel Rodríguez Bertorelli). Living by themselves in the U.S., they rely on a thin public safety net to make ends meet and their tight but fraught bond is pushed to the limit when Tom is hastily diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed psychiatric medication. When a near-fatal accident alerts Elena to the drug's potential side-effects, she determines to stop giving her son the meds. But as Tom's erratic behavior escalates, they're faced with the painful possibility of him having to go into foster care. Elena's difficulty in dealing with figures of authority — or recognizing the scarce signs of empathy they find along the way — compound Tom's challenging attitude. But in the face of very few options, their trust in each other helps them find a way to reconnect and take on the uncertain road ahead. Within an atmosphere of subdued realism, the story portrays the dangers of unchecked medical diagnosis and pill pushing and presents a poignant take on the ways basic governmental systems fail the people who most depend on them. (Note adapted from Toronto International Film Festival.) Official Selection, 2021 Venice and Toronto film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Rodrigo Plá, Laura Santullo, from the novel by Santullo; PROD Gabriela Maldonado, Alejandro de Icaza. U.S./Mexico, 2021, color, 111 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
No AFI Member passes accepted.
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