FILM: “Chico and Rita” a love story


April 6th, 2012

Omaha, NE – It turns out that animation isn’t just child’s play. From the Movieha podcast, Ryan Syrek and Matt Lockwood take a look at Chico and Rita.

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Chico is a talented young piano player, and he meets the singer, Rita.

Ryan: For the most part, here in America, animation is considered kiddie stuff.

Matt: Hey, they say the same thing about Play-Doh, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it.

Ryan: Other countries have long since figured out that the limitless potential of illustration means that budgets are no concern, locations are irrelevant, and stories can be told just as effectively to adults using this medium.

Matt: Case in point, the Spanish film Chico and Rita, which surprised degenerate gamblers who predict Oscar nominations when it scored a Best Animated Feature nod last year.

Ryan: We don’t prefer the term degenerate, we prefer the term prediction entrepreneurs.

Matt: The film opens in 1948 Havanna as Chico, a talented young piano player, meets the curvaceous singer, Rita.

Ryan: The two have an immediate attraction to one another, but things get off to a rocky start based on Chico’s ability to play women about as well as he tickles the ivories.

Matt: But the couple find themselves making music together before splitting up…and then getting back together…and then splitting up. It’s sort of like Ross and Rachel’s relationship on friends, only it spans 6 decades and is set to amazing jazz music.

Ryan: The movie misses a few opportunities to really comment on race and culture, as trips to America offer a chance to present real insight. Instead, the film is content to pull out animated cameos of folks like Dizzy Gillespie, which is marginally interesting at best.

Matt: Although the love story is sincere, it’s also really unoriginal, with the seemingly star-crossed lovers falling prey to plot mishaps and general miscommunication. The filmmakers were trying to shoot for an epic love, and they only managed to find decent affection.

Ryan: Still, the incredible score, the unique locations, and the interesting characters do make this a movie worth recommending, if only to prove that sometimes stuff for grown-ups can be wrapped in cartoon packages.

Editorial note: The Movieha podcast is produced in partnership with The Reader and is available at

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