La mujer de mi hermano (2005)

Bárbara Mori, Christian Meier, Manolo Cardona, Gaby Espino,
La mujer de mi hermano is a movie starring Bárbara Mori, Christian Meier, and Manolo Cardona. Unable to get intimate with her husband of 10 years, a woman embarks on a steamy affair with his brother.
  • 6.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • María Eugenia Argomedo, Shakeel Azmi, Jaime Bayly, Nestor Garrido, Sanjay Jaiswal, Writer:
  • Ricardo de Montreuil, Director:
  • Producer:
10 / 10

LA Times Review

As pared down, stylish and deceptively simple as the stark glass and concrete block inhabited by two of its main characters, "La Mujer de Mi Hermano" (My Brother's Wife) is an adultery drama that skips the big life lessons in favor of observing the mysteries of human interdependency and social behavior.

Peruvian director Ricardo de Montreuil has transposed the characters created by his compatriot, novelist Jaime Bayly, from Lima to Mexico City and has cast Mexican stars in three of the film's four principal roles. The idea behind the relocation was to broaden the film's global appeal, as Mexican films tend to be well received across Latin America and within the United States. Accents and local slang are duly adjusted, but the shift feels academic. "La Mujer de Mi Hermano" blooms inside only the most insular, intimate spaces, its characters untouched by the world around them. If anything, it's a reminder that class ? especially the upper echelons ? is a country unto itself that doesn't recognize geographical borders.

Disturbingly beautiful and melancholic Zo? (Barbara Mori) lives with her image-obsessed husband, Ignacio (Christian Meier), in an ultra-modern house ? half display case, half hothouse ? on the outskirts of the city. Ignacio is wealthy and doting but distant, and their marriage is affectionate but passionless. Ignacio's sterility and Zo?'s refusal to consider adoption compound the feeling that the marriage has cruised into a cul-de-sac.

Zo?'s complaints, which she shares with her gay friend Boris (Bruno Bichir), are legitimate, but it's Ignacio who elicits sympathy at first. Genuinely afraid of losing Zo?, he exudes a tightly wound, reined-in helplessness that's painful to watch. The feeling is cemented when Zo? starts hanging around with Ignacio's estranged younger brother, Gonzalo (Manolo Cardona), a painter who bad-mouths Ignacio at every opportunity but gladly takes his money each month. When Zo? drops by his gallery unexpectedly, Gonzalo sells her a painting from his show. The selling, rather than giving, becomes another point of contention between Gonzalo and Ignacio, but for Zo? it's a chance to get back at her husband.

The principal pleasures of the film lie in the subtle shifts in character that prompt shifts in allegiance, so I won't spoil them. The main thing is that "La Mujer de Mi Hermano" lets its characters' behaviors speak for themselves, which naturally lead the audience into snap judgments that evolve into something more fluid and forgiving.

Tall and broad, Meier has a rigid, hulking quality that serves him well as the high-strung businessman scared stiff of losing his wife. For a guy built like a pylon, he has a remarkable way of making himself small by tucking himself into a neat package.

Mori, a memorable presence, plays an instantly recognizable type nonetheless rarely seen on screen. Zo?'s uncommon beauty masks her neediness, insecurity and loneliness. Mexican star Angélica Aragón plays Cristina, the mother of Ignacio and Gonzalo, a woman who sees strictly what she wants to see and nothing more.

A final twist ? a bit of a corker ? threatens to push what has otherwise been a cool-headed emotional experience into the realm of melodrama. Despite this false note, "La Mujer de Mi Hermano" keeps a cool eye trained on its characters as they struggle to make their lives conform to some strict phantom ideal.

For a movie about an inter-family dalliance, it's far more pragmatic than you might expect, and far more humane. Ultimately, "La Mujer de Mi Hermano" offers the uncommon (in movieland) perspective that it may be the ideal that oppresses life, not the other way around.

8 / 10

Great Acting - Good Try But Needed More!!

I just saw La Mujer De Mi Hermano and I may sound a bit biased since I am a huge Barbara Mori fan, but as always I thought she was great...but the real treat here was Christian Meier, he really seems to have evolved as an actor with every character he does. The ending is a powerful one and all three actors come in true sync with their respective characters. This is the second film Meier has done, based on a Jaime Bayly character and here he hits a bang! All three main characters are subtle yet very effective with their portrayals..simply amazing, chic and sexy all throughout.

I had a slight problem with the fact that sex was a little bit overdone...It somehow felt that some of the sex talk scenes took away from the actual story and felt more like a filler than to have any substantial purpose. This was one of the main reasons I would rate this movie a 7.5 out of 10...It was a great movie that had a great pacing for the surprise finale and I was a bit baffled about one of the character's actions after he discovers something very significant to the story (which I will not give away.) Manolo Cardona was also great and the imperfections of his character came alive through the screen.

I did not see this movie with subtitles so I am not sure what non-Spanish speaking folks read, but I do have to say that it is understandable why many American critics will slander this film. Is because they don't understand that Hispanic films don't deal with some of the American topics on film in a daily basis. Americans and Europeans make tons of films about rape, incest, murder and every possible sick thing imaginable, which is why it might seem like a joke that something like La Mujer De Mi Hermano will cause marvel to the Hispanic audience. Spanish-speaking films seldomly deal with these topics and do not have such a big history with sleek, smart & taboo films, so they should definitely take that into consideration when rating the film.

Overall, I felt as I needed more...More thought-provoking dialogue, but it did justice to the Jaime Bayly novels, which rather speak for themselves rather than providing revolutionary sayings.

8 / 10

A Stylish, Visually Stunning, Memorable Film from Latin America

LA MUJER DE MI HERMANO seems to have polarized viewers between those who classify it as a television novela and those who see it as a stylish Latin American drama. Written by Peruvian author Jaime Bayly, adapted by María Eugenia Argomedo, and directed by Peruvian director Ricardo de Montreuil, the cast boasts actors from Peru (Christian Meier), Colombia (Manolo Cardona), Uruguay (Bárbara Mori), Venezuela (Gaby Espino), Chile (Beto Cuevas), and Mexico (Angélica Aragón, Bruno Bichir). It is a fine showcase for some of the fine talent from Latin America that is gaining a strong influence on theatrical films released in the USA. It offers a story embracing many current dilemmas in society (relationship to church, infidelity, illegitimate pregnancy, homosexuality, childhood sexual abuse) and blends them into a film acted by a fine cast of beautiful and talented actors and artists behind the camera, and the result is a luminous piece of cinema that deserves a second look.

Ignacio (Meier) is a handsome, wealthy, emotionally cool man who is married to a sensuous, beautiful, sexually frustrated Zoe (Mori), The couple may appear to have it all - splendid house, wealth, expensive tastes - but they have been unable to have children in their ten year marriage. The disparity between their sexual needs results in Zoe finding solace in the arms of Ignacio's bohemian artist brother Gonzalo and they begin an affair that results in a surprise pregnancy. This crisis unveils the truth about the characters: Gonzalo, still reeling from the childhood sexual abuse by his older brother Ignacio, doesn't want fatherhood and marriage, and in the peak of the tremor the pregnancy creates Gonzalo shares Ignacio's homosexuality with Zoe. How the three confront their needs and fears pulls the story to a close, an ending that addresses fully the characteristic traits that have shaped the lives of the three.

In addition to the trio of stars there are excellent cameos by Bruno Bichir as Zoe's gay confidant, Angélica Aragón as the mother of the men whose greatest need is for grandchildren, Gaby Espino as the housekeeper Laura, and Beto Cuevas as the priest who is not only a friend of the family but hears the secrets of each in the confessional. The cinematography is lush and evocative in the competent hands of Andrés Sánchez and the tension of the story is well underscored by the music of Angelo Milli. For this viewer LA MUJER DE MI HERMANO is a classy film that brings attention to the many fine new works coming from Latin American cinema. It is well worth revisiting. Grady Harp

9 / 10

not your run-of-the-mill love triangle

This film is a production that employed actors from various Latin-American countries in order to attract viewers in all Latin America. It's something that should be tried more often. We should organize distribution & production companies in Latin-America to integrate the whole region and give us more opportunities to see Latin American films, because there's such an overload of American films that we in Brazil know much more about Hollywood stars than about our Latin-American neighbours. This said, let's go to the film.

The film is about a triangle love story but it is in some ways unusual -there's no moral preaching and no conventional happy ending. The characters belong to the privileged class and live in a conservative background where the Catholic Church is still a power to reckon with, but the modern world is their real world. They may sometimes go to mass and confession but when conflicts between the two worlds arise their own wishes prevail, in spite of conservative dogmas, and the Church and their icons go to the background.

There was a reviewer that said that the sex scenes were a fill-up and were not necessary at all. I disagree with him. Sex is essential to show the reason why Zoe (gorgeous Barbara Mori) in spite of her conservative upbringing, engages in an affair with her brother-in-law. And the sex scenes are really sensual, showing a woman discovering herself through sexual pleasure. Can someone tell me of any American actress able to do the same in such a sensual way? The acting of the whole cast is excellent, the film has such a good story that manages to keep our interest till the end. I'm not telling you that "La Mujer de mi Hermano" is a masterpiece but certainly it's a very good film.

Other Latin American films I recommend are: "Pantaleon Y las Visitadoras", "Maria Full of Grace", "Nina Santa", "El mismo amor, La misma lluvia", "Y Tu Mama Tambien", "Machuca" and so many others!

8 / 10

Very well done!

Well, I must admit there may be some bias in my review because my cousin is one of the leading actors. But because of that I was even more prone to watch for mistakes or imperfections in the acting than I normally do when watching a movie. The first thing that must be said about this film is that the cinematography is excellent!! The attention to detail and framing that was put into every shot is manifest. Even just the opening sequence with the leaves floating in the pool was shot with a talent that is evident throughout the movie. The soundtrack is fine and subtle, blending well with the scenes and setting the appropriate mood. The acting was top rate - across the board - from the primary actors to the supporting cast down to the extras. Way to go cousin you did fantastic. The director definitely knew his story well and seamlessly planned out the path on which he would develop it. The situations and circumstances portrayed are perfectly believable. You truly find yourself engaged in the lives of these people. As the madness, guilt and predicaments gather up you can't help but feel pity for each character's weakness and just hope that in them lies some dormant strength they can muster to correct and recover their lives. This is a good drama film. And if you are in the mood for the steamy quandaries that people can get themselves into you will enjoy watching this movie. By the way, my cousin is Manolo Cardona; just in case you were curious.