Title: Chico & Rita
Reviewed by: Harvey Karten
Director: Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal & Tono Errando
Screenwriter: Fernando Trueba & Ignacio Martinez de Pison
Cast: Voices of Limara Meneses, Eman Xor Oña, Mario Guerra, Jon Adams, Renny Arozaréna
Screened at: Soho House, NYC, 1/26/12
Opens: February 10, 2012
Chico & Rita is a delightful and electric animated love story, which opens in Havana, Cuba in 1948. This little gem, was nominated for Best Animated Feature for the 2012 Oscars, which it deserves.
The title characters, Chico (Emar Xor Oña), and Rita (Limara Meneses), are a piano player and a singer that “meet cute” and fall in love in 1948 Havana and then again in New York City, Paris, Hollywood and Las Vegas during a period of ten years. The plot shifts between Havana, with its lush beautiful colors, sun and sea, and New York City with its formal jazz clubs during a snowy winter. Times Square , however, has the modern feel of the 21st century. At that point the story is told from old Chico’s perspective, looking back at his younger days, concluding with an overly sweet finale when Chico finds Rita in Las Vegas. The plot does not overlook the discrimination against blacks in the entertainment industry during the 1950’s.
Chico & Rita features an original dynamic soundtrack that includes ballads, jazz and swing, by composer Bebo Valdes and fabulous music by Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter, Dizzy Gillespie and Freddy Cole. The songs are performed by Bebo Valdes and Idania Valdes. Editing is by Arnau Quiles and charming animation direction by Manolo Galiana.
Unrated. 94 minutes (c) 2012 by Tammy Karten
Story – B+
Acting – B+
Technical – A-
Overall – B+