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4 Dec 2020

“Half Brothers”: A Review

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December 4, 2020 Category: Entertainment Posted by:

By Kharisma McIlwaine

Nothing compares to the bond between father and son. The importance of that bond is front and center in the film .“Half Brothers.” The dramedy, directed by Luke Greenfield, tells the story of Renato (Luis Gerardo Méndez) and how his relationship with his father impacts every aspect of his life.

The film begins with a compilation of scenes showing Renato and his father Flavio (Juan Pablo Espinosa) taking part in a series of adventures in Mexico. Renato’s life changes forever when Flavio leaves him and his mother to search for better work opportunities in America and never returns. Heartbreak turns Renato cold as his relationship with his father is never repaired.

Renato grows up to become the successful owner of an aviation company, partially due to his love of making planes with his father as a child. As Renato’s business grows, so does his bitterness, which spills over into his relationship with his fiancée (Pia Watson) and stepson. On his deathbed, Flavio reaches out to Renato in hopes of reconciliation. With a wedding just days away, Renato’s fiancé convinces him to make the trip to America to see his father one last time.

It is on that trip that Renato discovers not only did his father abandon him and his mother, he also started a new family — which includes a very annoying half-brother Asher (Connor Del Rio). Hijinks ensue as Renato and Asher set out on a detailed scavenger hunt planned by their father that seeks to answer all of the questions about his life his father was unable to explain.

As soon as Renato and Asher begin their journey, they are faced with a number of challenges. They have their fair share of run-ins with bullies, avert a few fights with locals and they even manage to steal and befriend a very famous goat. The biggest challenge the duo has to overcome, however, is their polar opposite personalities. Renato is prickly, quick-tempered and rigid, while Asher is a nonconformist, lighthearted free spirit.

There is also a layer of resentment Renato has for Asher because of the time he was able to spend with their father — time Renato was not granted. Throughout the film, it is clear that Renato’s pattern of feeling like he has to do everything for himself without the help of anyone has prevented him from embracing life or personal relationships to the fullest. 

From the moment Renato and Asher meet at the hospital coffee shop, there is tension between them. Although that dynamic continues throughout the film through a series of awkward moments in the form of slap schtick comedy, “Half Brothers” also balances that comedy by featuring very real problems in the world. One of those problems is immigration.

The film showcases unsavory conditions of adults and children locked in cages, as families await their fate… a poignant nod to what’s currently happening to so many immigrant families in our country. “Half Brothers” also highlights the damage that can form as a direct result of childhood trauma — namely, abandonment. 

Thankfully for the audience, there is a silver lining in the form of a happy ending. Many of the answers about Flavio’s absence are answered and Renato and Asher are finally able to cultivate their relationship as brothers. With the heaviness of all that 2020 has brought us, “Half Brothers” offers the lightness and laughter we all desperately need.

The film opens in theaters on Friday, December 4. Check your local listings for showtimes and COVID-19 guidelines for areas not affected by recent health department lockdown directives. 

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