Truman

A film about cancer, male bonding, and a dog

Of the two foreign films opening this week about middle-aged, lifelong male friends reuniting and coming to terms with their relationship and their lives, Cesc Gay’s Truman is the one that gets it right. Julián (Ricardo Darin) is a Madrid stage actor who has been diagnosed with cancer, so his childhood friend Tomás (Javier Cámara, now and forever Cardinal Gutierrez from The Young Pope) travels from the other side of the world to visit him, only to discover that Julián has decided not to fight the cancer. He intends to make his final exit on his own terms, and rather than trying to prolong his own life, Julián is most concerned with finding the right people to adopt his aging dog, Truman. Part of what makes Truman — the movie, not the dog — work is that while Julián and Tomás have a lifetime of baggage between them, director Gay keeps the action planted firmly in the present. He doesn’t bother with distracting flashbacks to fill in backstory, unlike the fractured Cézanne et Moi. Telling works better than showing in this case, and the chemistry between Darin and Cámara — as well as their expressive faces — tells much of that story. And Truman’s resolution to its title arc is unexpected and the only way that makes emotional sense.

Truman
Not rated.
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.

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