With a completely wild premise and lots of hijinks, it’s full of heart and sincerity while also being laugh out loud funny.
What happens when a nationally famous pariah and businessman loses his memory? You probably wouldn’t guess “he joins his biological mother’s mature lady’s dance troupe” but that’s exactly what happens in the delightful comedy LaTribu (The Tribe). After the devious HR executive Fidel fires hundreds from his company and then is caught sleeping with an intern in his office, he becomes a viral meme and a social outcast. But after an encounter with his birth mother Virginia goes poorly, he attempts suicide by stepping into the street, only to survive and simply lose his memory.
The ensuing story centers around Fidel’s attempts to regain his memory as his mother cares for him and he becomes a mascot and cheerleader for Virginia’s dance group Las Mamis, a group of older women who have come together to share their love of dance. The movie is a fairly simple morality tale as Fidel comes to terms with the person he was and vows to do better by the people in his life, but the real stars are the women, who are slowly revealed to have found dance to deal with the stresses of their life. Many have been abused or discarded by husbands and loved ones, and their interest in the dance troupe is about more than physical activity; they have formed a family they can turn to who supports them and takes care of them.
The comedy is overly broad and at times scatological, but overall it is a genuine, sweet and fully engaged in the emotional journey of its characters. It does an excellent job redeeming its male chauvinist protagonist without excusing his behaviour and highlights the ways women are driven to survive. This Spanish language gem is a wonderful film that I wouldn’t have had the chance to see if not for Netflix. With a completely wild premise and lots of hijinks, it’s full of heart and sincerity while also being laugh out loud funny. It is well worth the runtime.