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Tribeca Film Festival: Sunday's Illness Movie Review

Tribeca Film Festival: Sunday's Illness Movie Review
Sunday Will Never Be the Same
A young lady walks uphill in a forest on a cold, dank day. We don't know who she is or where she is going. When she reaches a large, odd rock formation, she peers into it. Cut to a grandest of estates, where the immaculately dressed Anabel (Susi Sánchez) walks on the marbled floor. Anabel is the picture of filthy-rich upper-class. She almost takes a tumble, signifying that maybe everything isn't as perfect as it might appear. The illusion of perfection has taken a hit.

The young lady is Chiara (Bárbara Lennie) and we soon find out why she appeared in the first scene. Anabel and her husband Bernabé (Miguel Ángel Solá) are philanthropists who are hosting a charity event in their home. Chiara is a waitress at the event and it turns out that she is the long ago abandoned daughter of Anabel.

Anabel and her people are worried about why Chiara is there, and the following day the two women sit down with Anabel's lawyers to find out what Chiara wants. They offer her oodles of money to disappear, but Chiara isn't interested in the money. She wants to spend 10 days alone with her mother at Chiara's house. She will then agree to renounce any claims to her mother's money. Despite the fears of the attorneys, Anabel agrees.

The two ladies go back to the house they once shared as a family. It's a nice enough chalet near the Spanish border that is far less flashy than Anabel's current house. Anabel as braced herself for an onslaught of questions and abuse from her daughter. She receives neither. Rather, Chiara mostly keeps to herself, sometimes even leaving her mother home alone while she spends the night, elsewhere. This behavior further flusters Anabel.

It's only near the end that the game is revealed and it's different in tone than you might expect. What makes it all work quite well, are the performances by the two leads and the assured direction of Ramón Salazar. The last major scene is a bit questionable, but everything that preceded it makes it somewhat believable. "Sunday's Illness" is a vibrantly healthy couple of hours.

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