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Identifying Features(Sin señas particulares)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Mexico, Spain

2020

1h 35m

Director Fernanda Valadez

Starring Mercedes Hernández, David Illescas, Juan Jesús Varela

Genre Drama

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Magdalena sets out on an epic journey in search of her son, who disappeared en route to the US border. Traveling through the desolate towns and landscapes of modern Mexico, she meets Miguel, a young man recently deported from the United States who is making his way home.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

80

Film Threat by Alex Saveliev

Apart from the two leads, there’s little warmth or humanity to be found here, the film purposefully cold and distancing, much easier to admire than to love. That said, there’s plenty to admire in this sad, contemplative journey into the heart of darkness.
80

The Hollywood Reporter by Beandrea July

The film's stylistic approach places an unmistakable and compelling veil of empathy around Magdalena, Miguel and the migrant workers just trying to survive amid violence, economic desperation and political strife.
100

The A.V. Club by Carlos Aguilar

Some movies wound us so profoundly that once darkness has consumed their final frame we are incapable of shaking off the heartache. That’s the power of Identifying Features, which is as painfully intimate as it is unsparing in its indictment of a country ravaged by a corrosive, entrenched evil.
70

Variety by Dennis Harvey

A film that straddles the line between artful and arty like this one isn’t designed for a wide public. There are moments that are striking, even if the their impact is muddied by a minimalism that at times feel pretentious. “Features” is ultimately worth the sit, but it needn’t have required quite so much effort.
88

LarsenOnFilm by Josh Larsen

It takes a special sort of confidence to make a quiet movie, and that’s exactly what director Fernanda Valadez displays in her debut feature, Identifying Features.
100

Original-Cin by Kim Hughes

Beautifully shot and terribly sad, with a wildly twitchy score ratcheting up the tension, the Mexican drama Identifying Features is a profound statement about maternal love, brutal inequality, and institutional corruption.
75

Movie Nation by Roger Moore

Valadez lets her actor’s faces do most of the talking here. It’s a music-free film of long, tense silences and splashes of fraught shakedowns and terror.
88

Slant Magazine by Steven Scaife

The film is as much about the act of seeing and observing as it is about not seeing, about struggling to recognize that which might not clarify much at all.
80

Screen Daily by Wendy Ide

Subdued in tone and stoic in its approach to the dangers that can decimate an entire community, Identifying Features is admirable in its restraint, and all the more powerful because of it.