Chile and Argentina (English captions) submitted this award-winning entry to the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival for it's North American Premiere. Writer/director Pepa San Martín brings us a pair of school-age sisters who are being competently raised by their mother and her lesbian companion. Shared custody happily sends them to their father's house with his new wife on a regular basis.

Children cope with divorce a variety of ways, and it looks to me as though these two girls are as undamaged as it is possible to be. In fact, one of the girl's classmates says, "I wish MY parents would separate!" Because both parents are settled into new relationships, there is very little conflict...until the older girl's behavior is misinterpreted by the parents and our story turns into a custody battle.

The cast:
  • Julia Lübbert as Sara, is a sensible teenager showing judgment beyond her years. She is however, saddled with a pesky little sister and a bit of a hormonal storm.
  • Emilia Ossandon is (I think) that pesky little sister, Cata. She loves animals, such as stray cats and the occasional hedgehog (trust me!).
  • Mariana Loyola and Agustina Muñoz are the girls' businesswoman mother and her veterinarian partner.
  • Daniel Muñoz and Michaele Cristi round out the cast as the girls' father and his new wife.
The movie has such a deliberate pace it seems to last longer than 92 minutes, but it has other things to recommend it. Above all, the authenticity of the scenes and the characters struck me: The evening meal includes setting the table and washing up afterwards, the before-school morning chaos, the sibling squabbles, the adolescent rebellion, the schoolyard dynamics and the friendships.

We are reminded how powerless children are as they contend with the adult world. Sara is simply a normal teenager doing normal teenage things. The sad thing is, the adults perceive her behavior through the filters of their own personal issues. Thus the conflict. If she had enjoyed the good fortune to be the third or fourth child, the adults would recognize how normal and grounded she really is! ...sigh...