Raindance Film Festival: You’re Killing Me Susana

You're Killing Me Susana
You’re Killing Me Susana (Me estás matando, Susana)
Directed by Roberto Sneider
Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Veronica Echegui, Ashley Grace and Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson
Screening at Raindance September 23rd, 29th, 2017

by Joanna Orland

You’re Killing Me Susana is a light romantic comedy about a very flawed couple. From the start, it’s impossible to root for Eligio (Bernal) and Susana (Echegui), making it a bit tricky to invest any real emotion into their story. Luckily, Gael Garcia Bernal gives a wonderful performance which carries the entire film.

The film is about a couple who should seriously not be together, who can’t be together, yet can’t be apart. They are irritating, and you immediately want them to break up and never reconcile – but then there would be no movie. Eligio is a Mexican soap star lothario who cheats on his wife Susana constantly. As deplorable as that may seem, Susana is just as bad as she leaves Eligio without even a word. He finds her across the border on a scholarship in America. Subtle racism is on display, and their marriage on the rocks. They go back and forth, Eligio winning Susana over and her running away with a big burly Polish man (Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson) who she also messes around. They are really unlikable as a couple, and as characters in general.

But in spite of not wanting them to end up together, I was still quite immersed by You’re Killing Me Susana. I thought it was perhaps the story or character development, but by the end when it left me completely unsatisfied, I realized it was perhaps just Gael Garcia Bernal the whole time. He gives depth to a character that is actually rather unlikable, even making him a bit sympathetic when he doesn’t deserve to be. He’s nuanced in his performance, showing different sides to Eligio and fleshing out the meat of the story through it.

Bernal’s charm supersedes his character’s: He’s funny, aloof, passionate and just fun to watch, even when Eligio’s being a total dick. Sadly, Bernal’s performance isn’t enough to rescue You’re Killing Me Susana from its mismatched couple. Even if you’ve managed to get over how awful they are as people to enjoy the bulk of the film, the ending will leave a bad taste in your mouth.


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