Those of us who live in parts of the country populated by many
Hispanics encounter many functional bilinguals.
They have the fascinating ability to switch back and forth between
English and Spanish, sometimes in the same paragraph, sometimes even in
the same sentence, as if both are their native languages, which they are.
“Everybody Loves Somebody” is a modern film that features many
such bilingual characters. The
credits begin in Spanish, then there's an English overdub, then the
characters are speaking Spanish with English subtitles, then the
characters speak English (but no Spanish subtitles).
So, obviously, the assumption is that the audience will be able to
understand English, and if they also hear the Spanish, well, that's just a
bonus. Just like in the
“real lives” of true bilinguals.
“Everybody Loves Somebody” is also a Millenialist comedy, where
the main character, Clara (Karla Souza) is a young professional woman (an
ob/gyn physician) who is single, living in L.A. But with strong family
ties to her parents in Mexico. She
also has a sister, who also lives in L.A., who's married to an Anglo who
doesn't even pretend to speak Spanish (he says he'll learn when she
observes Yom Kippur with him), and they have a son who's also growing up
bilingual. Clara and her
sister are both close to their parents, and travel frequently to Mexico to
see them for family gatherings, where everybody enjoys the fabulous
seaside house with the spectacular view of the ocean.
Sounds like Clara has the perfect life, right?
Ah, but Clara is also kind of a mess, and her own worst enemy.
We see her get drunk in a local bar, pick up some guy, go to his
house to sleep together, and then she slips out the door before he wakes
up, never intending to see him again.
She seems to have intimacy issues----separating the physical from
the emotional---but she doesn't see a shrink, and ignores her sister's
advice to maybe spend some time on a relationship that might have a
But then their Mom and Dad decide, after 40 years of living
together, to actually get married to each other, with a formal ceremony by
the ocean, and Clara, the maid of honor, feels it would be embarrassing to
show up without a date. So she
asks one of the physician interns at her clinic, Asher (Ben O'Toole, with
an inconsistent Aussie accent). Asher,
it turns out, is a young widower who would indeed be interested in Clara,
except she's got even more emotional baggage:
her ex-boyfriend shows up at the wedding.
Daniel (Jose Maria Yazpik) had been wandering around South America
for the last 8 years, working for Doctors Without Borders, but now he
suddenly seems ready to re-insert himself into Clara's life, and now she's
really confused. She finds she
still has feelings for Daniel, but she's afraid he'll just up and leave
again one day. Daniel is
condescending toward Asher, calling him her little koala, as if the
diminutive describes his lightweight romantic status with her.
Daniel is quite aware of the effect he still has on Clara.
Asher, wary of Clara's inconsistency, wisely decides to absent
himself from this complicated situation, but Clara, still conflicted,
keeps trying to draw him back in.
Yes, it's another permutation of the old love triangle.
It seems the solution should be simple enough—-Clara just needs
to make up her mind---but instead she lashes out at everyone, managing to
argue with both Daniel and Asher, and have a confusing heart-to-heart with
her Mom, and saying really mean things to her sister, who's done nothing
but support her. She even says
mean things to patients. Well,
we think we know who we're rooting for here, but it's difficult to like
Clara, even though she is cute and accessible and vulnerable;
she's also selfish and self-indulgent and stubborn, and is not good
at thinking through the consequences of her actions.
Hmm, come to think of it, maybe that sounds like the rest of us
more than we'd like to admit.