“April’s Daughter” Needs to Focus More

Release Date:Jan/12/2018
Michel Franco
Emma Suárez、Hernan Mendoza、Joanna Larequi

Viola's Rating:6.4

Having Director Guillermo del Toro winning Best Director and Best Picture of the Academy Awards with The Shape of Water, Mexican feature films are getting more and more attention these days. “April’s Daughter” was released in the US at AFI Fest and Palm Springs International Film Festival, and was only seen at festivals as well as in most countries. Being a satisfying film, “April’s Daughter” actually needs to focus more on its plot development.

There are four main characters in this drama. The protagonist, Valeria, is a 17 year-old, pregnant young girl, not quite adult. She lives in Puerto Vallarta with Clara, her half-sister. The two sisters share the same mother, who also appears in the flick, April. Valeria doesn’t want her long-absent mother, April, to find out about her pregnancy, but due to their economic angst and the overwhelming preparation and responsibility of going to have a baby in the house; Clara decides to call their mother on her own. Answering to her daughters’ needs, April comes, but the audience soon realizes the reason why Valeria had wanted her to stay away.

Since “April’s Daughter” mainly discusses the issue of premarital pregnancy, “age” has been mentioned several times to emphasize how young Valeria and her husband-to-be are. Even Valeria’s biological father and his current wife’s ages are mentioned. However, April’s age remains to be a mystery. The audience gets to know at what age did she give birth to her first daughter, Clara, but that’s the only clue given out throughout the motion picture.

As a movie of about 100 minutes’ duration, “April’s Daughter” has a rather slow narration, and its quietness and tranquility match the simple life Valeria has, which is close to the sea. Yet after her daughter is born, the baby’s cry is sometimes a little bit too ear-piercing and disturbs the ambiance as well. This gives moviegoers an uncomfortable feeling not because of the intimidating climax built, but because of the emotion disrupted.

Parts of the story aren’t consistent or reasonable enough for the audience to get the picture of why characters do such and such things, and some interactions between characters change vastly that it feels like a lot of details are emitted. Therefore, the core value of “April’s Daughter” isn’t always clear.

Something interesting is that in the original title, which is in Spanish, “daughter” is in plural term, while in English, it’s singular. This attribute somehow provides a totally different angle to the feature film. Also, whether picking April as the mother’s name is meaningful or not isn’t conveyed in the film.

“April’s Daughter” really is a flick that guides its audience to walk through the protagonist’s growth, but it could be more profound with more focuses.

Picture Credit: IMDb


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