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Ernesto's Manifesto

USA 2019
produced by
Nereida Dellan, David M. Matthews, Julie Di Cataldo, Fernando Hidalgo (executive) for Fernando Hidalgo Productions LA, Stone Gate Entertainment
directed by David M. Matthews
starring Fernando Hidalgo, Amy Davidson, Adam Huss, Lisandra Tena, Randy J. Goodwin, Tabitha Caulfield, Sean Carrigan, Norma Maldonado, Paul Schackman, Al Coronel, David Burr, Keith Andreen, Alesha Renee, Ashley Platz, JC Gonzalez, Marlon Corona-Dellan, Kurtis Bedford, Ronald Corona-Dellan, Brandon Plush, David M. Matthews, Brenna Otts, How Zany, Alissa Latow, Jernard Burks, Angela Robitaille, Dana Gaier, Jono Cota, Kathleen Kinmont, Halbert Hernandez, Stacy Lafay, Amari McCoy, Michael Sun Lee, Guido Massri, David J. Wright, Skyler Wright, Tyler Case, Tommy Blatnick
written by David M. Matthews, music by Marc Ellis, David M. Matthews

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Now from the get-go, Ernesto (Fernando Hidalgo) seems like a ready-made loser, and so it's not surprising that the day he loses his job, he also loses his girlfriend Veronica (Lisandra Tena) and his house, and the fact that he insists on continuing to be just nice to everyone really makes him seem all the more pathetic - but it also gets him a new job as a waiter at a restaurant rather quickly, as his good-naturedness and honesty just impress the place's manager (Al Coronel), and later also its owner Jerry (David Burr), who even goes so far as to let Ernesto live in his own guest house. But then Jerry dies, and Ernesto's future, both in terms of employment and accommodation, is put into question. Enter Austin (Adam Huss), the new tenant of Jerry's main house, who at first invites Ernesto over to a party merely out of courtesy, but he soon takes to Ernesto's naive charm (that somehow has to do with Ernesto's lacking grasp of the English language), and being a movie director, he makes him consultant on his new film, later associate producer, then producer. On set, Ernesto meets lovely makeup girl Cassie (Amy Davidson) and takes an immense liking in her, but soon gets into the crosshairs of her boyfriend Kyle (Sean Carrigan), plus he's caught drinking on the job - which he did only to shield a young actress (Tabitha Caulfield) from being taken advantage of -, the production is threatened with a shutdown, and Jerry's actual heir (Keith Andreen) tries to evict him - and suddenly it needs more than just sheer luck and being a nice guy to keep things going in the right direction. But is Ernesto even up to that?

 

Now I won't lie, Ernesto's Manifesto is a feelgood movie of the wise simpleton variety that has its moments of kitsch and tear-jerking qualities to it, so it's definitely not everyone's cup of tea - but what makes this movie is that it's as a whole pretty much as sincere as its titular character and doesn't give in to the temptation of sugarcoating everything for the sake of emotional overkill but put its focus on stringent storytellingand palpable characters. And Fernando Hidalgo manages to give his Ernesto real soul, and he's supported by a strong ensemble for sure. Likewise, the direction is subtle as can be to make this flourish to full effect. So even if you're not into this kind of film (and in general I'm not either), you might find yourself liking this one more than you expect.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD