Day Ten: Belle Époque (March of the Movies 2023)

The top review for this film on Letterboxd refers to it as “‘Little Women’ in Spanish but one guy nailed all of the girls.” After seeing this for myself, I mildly agree. There’s just one issue: Little Women is good. Belle Époque is… something.

Copy-Paste Synopsis

“In 1931, a young soldier deserts from the army and falls into a country farm, where he is welcomed by the owner due to his political ideas. Manolo has four daughters, Fernando likes all of them and they like him, so he has to decide which one to love.”


Actual (Short) Review

Sometimes I’ll watch a film and know without a shadow of a doubt that I will forget it in the future. Belle Époque falls within this category.

Fragments of quality persist throughout. One girl, Violeta, has a hardcore tomboy mindset, constantly referring to herself as “a man” and “brother.” Now that that’s established, I have no idea whether to keep calling her “she” or him “he.” Compromise—they establish themselves as the first to make a genuine move on the male lead, and their presence is intense. Confident, powerful, and, dare I say, sexy?

A passionate night is followed up by them shirking off any deeper feelings for the male lead when questioned about it. “She is unmarriageable; she is a man,” her father bemoaned. That is the epitome of the writing in this film.

Old movie trailers don’t provide great images.

Moderately liberal, yet still abides by a rather old-fashioned viewpoint of “man and woman.” Numerous scenes are borderline uncomfortable, with the male lead continuing to feast upon a woman’s flesh despite them trying to stop him. Each time the male lead gets intimate with one of the girls, he tries to “make right” afterwards by offering to marry them. This film ends with a (pseudo) wedding. Several women place incredible value in being involved with a man.

Yet the entire character of Violeta seems hopeful in a way. A tender moment amongst all of the girls with their mother has her earnestly hoping for Violeta to find “a girl” to treat her well. Outside of the one night stand, Violeta shows absolutely no interest in the male lead sexually. (They were crossdressing during.) Them being “a man” comes off mostly as a joke that people simply accept as who they are. That’s interesting! Really wish they would have delved more into that.

Everything else is just… well, kind of like a harem anime. Only difference is he ends up with someone in the end. The choice is incredibly contrived and random within the context of the film, which only adds to how “whatever” the execution is.

Blow it!

Kind of like yesterday, the “comedy” present is more “Ha, isn’t this ironic?” than LOL-worthy. Didn’t do much for me overall and some of the more over-the-top characters were more annoying than amusing. Frankly, the only character I really gave a damn about was Violeta. I think I’m forgetting everything as I type this.


Fun fact: This was Penélope Cruz’s second film. She did not have that much of a role in this film, mostly regarded as “the kid” of the group (she was about 18 at the time), but she pulled off hair ribbons pretty well. Was interesting to see her in such an early role. Also interesting: Violeta’s actress, Ariadna Gil, is dating Viggo Mortensen. I think that’s neat. More interesting than the film itself, really.

Final Score: 5/10

The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.

For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!

If reading this compelled you to give me a dollar, feel free to tip me on Ko-fi.

Thank you for your time. Have a great rest of your day.

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