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Carmen

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Malta, Canada · 2022
1h 27m
Director Valerie Buhagiar
Starring Natascha McElhone, Richard Clarkin, Steven Love, Michaela Farrugia
Genre Drama

Carmen has looked after her brother, the priest at the local church, since she was sixteen years old. Now almost fifty, she is suddenly left to start a new life after his death. Facing her past, Carmen brings color to the lives of the local villagers as she sets out to find her voice.

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50

Austin Chronicle by Marjorie Baumgarten

Maltese writer/director Buhagiar emphasizes the character’s transformative path rather than her pitiable starting point, and with the help of some suspension of disbelief and a symbolic pigeon (no, not a Maltese falcon) Carmen comes into her own.

60

Los Angeles Times by Noel Murray

Carmen relies too much on coincidences to keep its story going; and Buhagiar threads in a few too many impressionistic flashbacks to the heroine’s youth and to the romance her family forced her to abandon. But McElhone strikes a fine balance between humor and pathos.

63

Movie Nation by Roger Moore

McElhone mopes in the early scenes and shimmers through the later ones, even as she suffers. “Carmen” becomes a veritable Maltese fashion shoot at times.

80

The New York Times by Teo Bugbee

Writer and director Valerie Buhagiar makes the wise decision to orient her film toward what’s pleasurable rather than what’s logical. The Maltese countryside sparkles in the sunlight, and McElhone delights with a charming and slightly loopy performance as the irreverent spiritual leader.