At first glance, Perfectos Desconocidos (Perfect Strangers) is a gathering of friends for a dinner party but things soon get very intense.
The film starts out with friends gathered around in the home of Eva (Cecilia Suárez) and Antonio (Bruno Bichir). Nothing is out of the ordinary for this group of friends aside from a lunar eclipse. As friends continue to arrive, things don’t really get started until Pepe (Franky Martin) arrives. While everyone was looking to meet his new girlfriend, Lucia, she’s home with a cold.
On this night, it’s not just a regular dinner party. Eva suggests that everyone place their cell phones on the dinner table. What follows is that all text messages are read aloud as they come in and every phone call be answered. This sounds like it could be fun. Though I could imagine the tension would increase should somebody be cheating on their significant other. This situation is ripe for comedy. With six remakes in different languages (including two in Spanish), I await the inevitable English language remake. The rights were purchased by The Weinstein Company in 2017 but with Harvey Weinstein’s downfall, the adaptation is now up in the air.
In any event, this is a film that has something to say about our addictions to phones and how we choose to live. We think we know our friends but honestly, we do not. We only see their public persona–whether it’s in person or how transparent they choose to be online. Some of us are open about depression while others decide to battle in private. No judgement here. What this film does is seek to expose our private lives and whatever secrets may come from that privacy. Nobody said it was easy!
Take Eva, for example. She’s a psychologist and despite this, she has body issues that none of her friends know about. Similarly, her father (a doctor) never approved of her husband, Antonio. He’s also a doctor. Back to Eva, she’s seeking to undergo breast augmentation and her father suggests that Dr. Moreno could do the operation. Antonio comments that a husband isn’t allowed to do such an operation because it would ruin whatever sexual fantasy exists between them.
The film is based on the 2016 Italian film, Perfetti sconosciuti, which translates to Perfect Strangers. Director Manalo Caro adapts the screenplay written by Paolo Genovese and Filippo Bologna. Caro never ceases to miss an opportunity in heightening the stakes in this adaptation. Given how much the Italian film made, it’s no surprise that other countries are seeking to adapt the film in their language. Films like Perfectos Desconocidos will certainly have us reconsider how we use our phones so that we’re not embarrassed when our friends read our texts.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Manalo Caro
CAST: Cecilia Suárez, Bruno Bichir, Mariana Treviño, Manuel García Rulfo, Miguel Rodarte, Franky Martin, Ana Claudia Talancón, and Camila Valero