No Estoy Loco -review (Netflix)

   Carolina (Paz Bascuñán) is woken up on her thirty-eighth birthday by her husband, Fernando (Marcial Tagle) with breakfast in bed and the gift of a new car. He even buys her a couple of tickets for a cruise around the Greek Islands, though he does stipulate that he has bought them so as she could go away with a friend. Though she is appreciative of his attention, she finds his kindness a little strange. 

   At the magazine company, Caras, where she works as a journalist, Carolina is greeted by her best friends, Maite (Fernanda Urrejola) and Isi (Ignacia Allamand) celebrating her birthday. She voices her disquiet at Fernando’s actions, the lavishing of so many gifts on her. Her friends tell her she is being silly.

  Later, there is a party to celebrate her birthday. Her mother, Marta (Gabriela Hernández) pressurises her about not having a child. She is the only one amongst her friends who do not have any grandchildren. She cannot understand why her daughter, with such a great husband in Fernando, has not had any children. Carolina, frustrated by her mother and her life, drinks a lot, partying into the evening. 

    The next day, she has an appointment to visit the doctor. She is called by Fernando and invited to dinner later at the place he proposed to her. Carolina looks forward to the date. At the doctors, she is told that she is infertile. Later she goes and meets Fernando, happy for the distraction and grateful for the effort he seems to be making for their relationship. 

   Maite turns up. She sits next to Fernando. Fernando tells Carolina that she wants to leave her. He has fallen in love with Maite, them having got together when Carolina fell into a depression after her father died two years before. They also tell her that Maite is pregnant. They plan to name the child Dante, after Carolina’s father.

    A shellshocked Carolina calls Isi. Isi knew but did not tell her. The next day movers come and start to clear Fernando’s items from the house. Carolina tells her mother. Her mother is not particularly consoling. Carolina buys several bottles of wine and drinks in an effort to find solace.

   After several bottles, she goes up on the roof and jumps off. When she wakes up, body battered from the fall, she is in the Eden psychiatric hospital, restrained to her bed. She is told that she will have to stay for a minimum of three weeks. Carolina rages against the institution, even trying to escape. As the days go past, she is befriended by Silvia (Antonio Zegers) and then belatedly by Lorenza (Josefina Cisternas).

   Silvia helps her to tolerate being in the hospital. Silvia tells her that she is hoping to get out and see her daughter, checking pictures of the little girl on her ex-husband’s Facebook page. When her husband blocks her, Silvia has a meltdown and hangs herself. 

    Carolina, who had been opening up to the doctor, Psiquiatra (Luis Pablo Román) asks about Silvia’s daughter. He tells her that Silvia’s daughter died six years before in a car crash and Silvia had been driving. Carolina falls out with Lorenza as well due to her emotional unavailability. 

   As she continues to see Psiquiatra, she realises that all her problems stem from herself and her decisions. She begins to embrace her sessions and the situation she finds herself in. That allows her to find peace and she is allowed to leave the hospital. The end. 

    Written by Nicolás López and Guillermo Amoedo, with López also on directing duties, No Estoy Loco is a better film than the five-point six on IMDB would suggest. With a wonderful central performance by Paz Bascuñán, the film is more of a look at the pressures of life and how different people deflect and are affected by them. 

    With no obvious driving external premise, it is the relationships and the intricacies that push the story. Carolina’s story of a woman who has allowed peer and familial pressures to guide her life to the point of breaking will be one that resonates on some level with a lot of people, especially in this world of social media hype and facade. 

   All of the actors put in good performances, especially Antonia Zegers as the manic Silvia. The script is amusing and brutal in parts, no more so than in the instances where it shows how selfish we can truly be. The various characters that populate the psychiatric hospital are funny, touching and a little tragic, creating an uncomfortable curiosity, that has you wondering how they might have ended up there. 

   No Estoy Loco is not a film for everyone. With no dramatic or physical action or violent emotional clashes, it could seem a little underwhelming. No Estoy Loco is a look at what it means to accept responsibility for one’s own life and the excuses that we make to avoid that. At just under two hours, it is a pleasant viewing experience that is worth a watch.    

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