For a film about a family issues, revolving around a child with mental health issues, ‘Abel’ was quite light hearted at times. While it doesn’t make light of the issues, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, which makes it more enjoyable, than a full-on heavy drama.
Abel (played brilliantly by the incredibly cute child Christopher Ruiz-Esparza) is a mentally disturbed kid, who doesn’t speak, or at least hasn’t in the past two years. After spending two years in a hospital, he returns home, and is soon acted like a father to his older sister and younger brother. A lot of these sequences are hilarious, seeing this little kid act fatherly towards a teenage girl, and his younger brother who isn’t that much younger than him. With his mother, he thinks she’s his wife, and its a little more uncomfortable to watch, because you’re not sure on how far that will go. While its all quite odd for the family, considering how he is acting, and because they had got used to life without him for the last two years, they eventually start getting used to the whole idea. Enter the real father.
What seems to set out to be a tale of an unusual little boy, slowly becomes a family drama making a statement on deadbeat dads. Abel, though having his mental issues, kind of adapts himself to represent what is missing in their family.
Diego Luna does well in directing his first feature film. He found the balance between keeping things light but taking the necessary things seriously. Christopher, who plays Abel, is so good, as is his brother who plays his brother, Paul. Its quite an emotional film, and definitely worth seeing.