Chasing Wonders Parent Guide
Disentangling daddy issues doesn't exactly break new ground, but there is wonder to be found in the film's locations.
Parent Movie Review
“Every child grows up thinking their father is either a hero or a villain until they realize he is just a man.” In Chasing Wonders, Felipe (Antonio de la Torre), certainly puts a lot of effort into looking like a villain until his broken humanity becomes clear.
Chasing Wonders is a drama about the long term effects of loss; how grief harms even those who don’t know the reason for their family’s pain. When Savino is six years old, his father, Felipe, uproots the family from their vineyards in Spain and moves to Australia, where he goes back into the wine-making business. Savino (Michael Crisafulli) doesn’t know why the family relocates, and by the time he’s 12 years old, he’s adjusted to life in Australia. He’s frustrated by his father’s controlling, critical manner, and prefers to spend time with his maternal grandfather (Edward James Olmos), who lavishes him with love and fosters his curiosity and sense of wonder. But when Savino follows his grandfather’s advice and winds up in danger, he sets in motion consequences that he could not foresee and cannot understand…
Whether or not you enjoy Chasing Wonders will depend on how much you enjoy the family drama genre. If you enjoy movies about people working out their “daddy issues”, this is your film. If you enjoy carefully lit shots that reveal people struggling to express and cope with their feelings, get out the popcorn. If you’re looking for adventure, action, or romance, you’ll want to find another film.
In its favor, this production carries some positive messages about the importance of family, the need to communicate, to forgive, and try to understand each other. It’s also beautifully shot in Australia and Spain, with vistas that will have viewers googling vacation trips to both countries. The acting is also good with a notably fine performance by Michael Crisafulli as young Savino. Child actors are hit-and-miss and director Paul Meins lucked out with a young thespian who is completely authentic and believable. Edward James Olmos also provides a comforting presence as the loving grandfather, and his distinctively warm voice enhances the narration.
On the flip side, the movie is burdened with some clunky dialogue that feels suspiciously like it was written for the stage and never adapted to sound more lifelike. There is also some violence, primarily in a domestic context and motivated by anger. And while most parents will accept scenes of adults drinking wine with dinner, few will tolerate seeing a child given alcohol, let alone enough to get him drunk. The movie also features a scene of a couple having sex: both are seen naked from the side, and the woman’s back and buttocks are clearly visible. Savino also find a nude drawing of her, with visible breasts. Throw in a few dozen profanities, including sexual expletives, and this movie clearly lands in the Restricted category.
Chasing Wonders also has a few annoying quirks, most notably a lack of subtitles for the Spanish dialogue. Most conversations are in English – and are subtitled if you hit the icon – but they disappear when characters switch to Spanish. No hablo espanol, so I spent those parts of the film in the dark. Sadly, this movie doesn’t fill me with the sense of wonder the filmmakers are trying to inspire. The scenery is beautiful, the acting is solid, the messages about seeing broken souls are valuable, but for me, the movie doesn’t sing.Directed by Paul Meins. Starring Edward James Olmos, Michael Crisafulli, Paz Vega, Antonio de la Torre. Running time: 86 minutes. Theatrical release June 4, 2021. Updated June 4, 2021
Watch the trailer for Chasing Wonders
Rating & Content Info
Why is Chasing Wonders rated Not Rated? Chasing Wonders is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: Boys play with a flick knife. A man shoots a firearm into the air. Boys recklessly wander off into the bush without letting adults know where they are going. A child falls and is shown bleeding and with a broken leg. An angry man throws a suitcase, breaking a person’s important possession. An angry man starts a fistfight unprovoked and both men are shown with cuts. A woman slaps a man’s face. A man slaps a child in the face. A character kills a snake with a rock and then stabs it with a knife.
Sexual Content: A brief distant scene of man and woman having sex – full rear nudity for the woman. A character urinates out a window, nearly hitting someone. A child wonders if his father would be happy if he died. A boy finds drawings of a naked woman.
Profanity: There are over 24 profanities in the movie, including about a dozen sexual expletives (and two sexual hand gestures), another dozen scatological curses, and a few terms of deity and mild swear words.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults frequently drink wine with meals. A person takes unspecified pills. A man lets a child drink wine and he gets tipsy. An adult and children are seen smoking cigarettes. An adult frequently overimbibes wine. A man breaks the neck off a wine bottle and drinks out of it.
Page last updated June 4, 2021
Chasing Wonders Parents' Guide
What are the long term results of Felipe’s childhood loss? How does it damage his relationship with his son?
Why is his grandfather so important to Savino? What does he learn from his advice?
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Father and son relationships are frequently mined for movie ideas. Blinded by the Light features a Pakistani father and his English-born son in 1980s Luton. The teenager wants to become a poet but his father wants him to follow a safer, more traditional path.
More comedic is Back to the Future, in which a teenager who is frustrated with his parents inadvertently travels to the past and encounters his parents in their high school years.
In Big Fish, a man tries to understand what his father is trying to share through his tall tales.