Arráncame la vida (2008)

  • Year: 2008
  • Released: 12 Sep 2008
  • Country: Mexico
  • Adwords: 6 wins & 3 nominations
  • IMDb:
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  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: Spanish
  • MPA Rating: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Runtime: 107 min
  • Writer: Ángeles Mastretta, Roberto Sneider
  • Director: Roberto Sneider
  • Cast: Ana Claudia Talancón, Daniel Giménez Cacho, José María de Tavira
  • Keywords:

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Englishsubtitle Tear.This.Heart.Out.2009.720p.BluRay.x264-LCHD7
Italiansubtitle Arrancame La Vida

Arráncame la vida Movie Reviews

A dramatic display to a real world that Mexico has lived

Mexican director Roberto Sneider wrote the script of “Tear This Heart Out” (“Arráncame la Vida”) with the author and winner of the Mazatlán Prize for Literature for the best book of the year Ángeles Mastretta published in Mexico in 1985 partially inspired by the life of Maximino Ávila Camacho, a four-star general in Mexico’s revolutionary forces, brother of Manuel Ávila Camacho who was President of Mexico from 1940 to 1946…

The film opens with the beautiful Catalina Guzmán (Ana Claudia Talancón) marrying at her early age a charismatic and cunning general named Andrés Ascencio (Daniel Giménez Cacho), much older than her… Dazzled by his world, Catalina escorts him on his political campaigns, perceiving at his side the intriguing political systems to obtain social justice…

Catalina, a smart but not an educated young woman, dedicates years of her youth to a ‘loving’ husband… She comes to Puebla to hear from the voice of her man, the governor of the beautiful city, that soon she will be the First Lady of Mexico as he considers himself the best-qualified candidate to win the race for the Presidency…

But one day, Catalina finds out that her arrogant and prepotent macho man is cheating on her with several women and has several children out of that relationship… But in spite of all that, and observing her husband’s pervert and bad manners, Catalina continues to live with Andrés, to bear his two children, to train his others children in her family, to serve him as his adviser and to guide him to win elections, taking intense pleasure from that attitude… Nevertheless she learns that life and power are not always so pink…

There is a scene during her pregnancy, where we saw her detecting that she is totally neglected… So, for the first time we watch her taking pleasure in having a love affair with a teenager who cherished her dearly…

But the movie takes a dramatic turn when Catalina falls really in love with a concertmaster… And it was forbidden for her to fall in love! And she executes her cruel vengeance on Andrés sharing the musician’ bed ignoring the predestined course of his future fate…

And here Roberto Sneider’s motion picture clearly comes off with three significant national old traditions: the 1930’s post-revolutionary Mexico, the very crucial point for the Mexican girl, the “rite of passage,” and the traditional macho man…

The film is a love story through which three main characters are important for the viewer: Andrés, the charming officer, the great orator with the voice so thrilling and so impacting… His wife Catalina divulging how meaningless and insincere his promises are… And Carlos (Jose María de Tavira), the leader of the orchestra, the future of a new Mexico, the rebel, and what Mexico is expecting from her younger men…

The motion picture presents the concept of the long-suffering Mexican woman vanishing here with Catalina as seen powerful of character, efficacious and extreme in having an affair with the man she deeply falls in love, intense in degree to accept whatever she is asked from her lover to carry out…

Her representation of the submissive wife, in a macho world where women are suppressed and their voices not heard, has fallen with her determined and ambivalent character here, as near Carlos, Catalina is another woman who wishes, requests, and desires intensely the enjoyment of her personal liberty and personal efficacy…

The result is a fine rich movie with many captivating visuals of the stunning state of Puebla, and definitely a must-see, at least for the Mexican viewers

Best Mexican production in years.

Period pieces in Mexico have been well done almost always, but productions of period pieces had been only made for soap operas, never before had a movie production been so well done.

Although I never read the novel by Angeles Mastretta, I knew it was somehow accurate, since I hear she is a direct descendant from the story’s protagonist Catalina -names are changed in the novel and film. This is shown by the richness of dialogs and curious anecdotes which constantly make you wonder which parts were completely true and which sprung from the author’s vivid imagination.

Apart from the richness from the story and how the storytelling evolves smoothly throughout the film, the production design makes you feel completely Mexico in the 1930s. The costumes are great also.

The direction is almost perfect. Roberto Sneider takes you by surprise first at about minute 20, then slowly and smoothly hypnotizes you and never lets go.

Much credit goes to the lead Ana Claudia Talancon whose good looks and very well developed character arc make you fall at first for her beauty and innocence, and later for her humanity, courage and cleverness.

Daniel Gimenez Chaco’s performance deserves praise also. He captures the Mexican Macho Persona perfectly, his cynical viewpoint of things and comments, bring humor to a character who would be otherwise despicable.

Second characters like de Tavira’s and others feel a bit underdeveloped, but in the end all actors do great jobs with their little screen time and their contribution suffice.

The drama never falls for the temptation to go overly melodramatic and dialogs are kept smart enough – even ironic at times – to make this movie a fresh and satisfying take on the Mexican way of life. It actually feels so accurate that deep thoughts of “nothing has ever changed really” do spring a few times.

The music and editing are very well done also.

Congratulations to everybody involved!

You shouldn’t miss this movie

I read Angeles Mastreta’s book when it first came out and I just loved it. She’s written some more afterwards, but I never really liked them as I enjoyed “Arrancame la vida”. When I knew that a movie about this story was going to be done I read the book again, and to be honest I went to see the movie with the intention of reinforce that “stories are always better read in books, than depicted in movies”. Well I was wrong.

To my agreeable surprise I enjoyed every minute of it, just as much as I did reading the book for the first time. You easily digest a witty yet sarcastic story, picturing a post revolutionary country society that grabs you from the very first second. All the charactersare very well pictured and the scenery is just perfect.

Thank you for this kind of Mexican cinema: enjoyable, brilliant and proudly capable of the quality to be appreciated by any kind of audience of the world.