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March 2005

Take My Eyes(Te Doy Mis Ojos)

By Kam Williams

Take My Eyes(Te Doy Mis Ojos)


Distributor: New Yorker Films
Director: Icíar Bollaín
Screenwriter: Icíar Bollaín
Cast: Laia Marull, Luis Tosar, Candela Peña, Rosa María Sardà, Kiti Manver, Sergi Calleja, Nicolás Fernández Luna, Elisabet Gelabert, Chus Gutiérrez, Elena Irureta
Genre: Drama, Family, Romance

In Spanish with subtitles
Running time: 109 minutes






Feminist Melodrama Seriously Addresses Battered Women’s Syndrome

For some reason, Pilar (Laia Marull) decides that this is the last straw, when her abusive husband, Antonio (Luis Tosar), flies into a rage, leaving her bloody and beaten once again. The battered housewife, her young son, Juan (Nicolas Fernandez Luna) in tow, escapes in the middle of the wintry night, only wearing slippers and the clothes on their backs.

The two take the bus to the home of her supportive sister, Ana (Candela Pena), who offers not only to protect them with the help of her fiance, but to put them up for as long as they need. This, despite the fact that she and her beau have just announced their engagement and are busy making preparations for an elaborate wedding.
Understanding that it is imperative that she move on, a grateful Pilar sets about starting over, and starts by volunteering at a museum. But guess who soon starts stalking her, a suddenly very apologetic Antonio, begging for forgiveness and promising never to hit her again.

Initially, Pilar resists her ex’s overtures at reconciliation, especially because her sister prophetically reminds her that a man who could do that to her once doesn’t love her, and could do it again, if afforded the opportunity. So, the simple question at the center of Take My Eyes is why so many battered wives go back for more punishment.
This female empowerment flick was written and directed by Iciar Bollain, who is adept at presenting an emotionally-conflicted heroine who is torn between not wanting to be a victim, and a fantasy about finally having a perfect family with her husband and son. And after Antonio undergoes anger management therapy and announces that he’s learned to control his penchant for domestic abuse, Pilar makes the ill-advised decision to give her nine-year marriage just one more chance.

Set in the scenic Spanish city of Toledo, director Bollain does a magnificent job of contrasting the wide-open, generous panoramas provided by the breathtaking backdrop with the never ending, claustrophobic nightmare of a protagonist too gripped with fear to appreciate her surroundings. Alternately suspenseful, steamy and shocking, Take My Eyes is an absorbing psychological thriller, ala Hitchcock, which thoroughly entertains while simultaneously delivering its subtle feminist message.

Excellent (4 stars)