Sunday’s Illness
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Sunday’s Illness

Estranged families provide readymade templates for family dramas, but the brilliance of Spanish writer-director Ramón Salazar’s elegant “Sunday’s Illness” stems from its ability to avoid the easiest emotional pathways. Channeling the intimate melancholic notes of Fassbinder and the expressionistic melodrama of Douglas Sirk, this two-hander about a mother forced to confront the daughter she abandoned has a startling clarity to its ambitions. It’s a powerful look at the durability of parent-child bonds as well as a fascinating psychological thriller about what it takes to heal such a rift when it seems irreparable.

As the movie begins, the elder Anabel (Susi Sánchez) lives a comfortable, affluent life with her businessman husband and their daughter in a giant, glittery mansion that consumes her world. One night, at the end of a crowded dinner party, she locks eyes with a stone-faced caterer who stares back with a knowing gaze. Decades have passed, but the astonishment on Anabel’s face tells she knows exactly who she’s seen: Chiara (Bárbara Lennie), the daughter she abandoned at the age of eight in a previous marriage. Their wordless exchange establishes the template for the bracing two-hander to follow. When Anabel’s husbands asks how she knows that Chiara is her daughter, Anabel’s voice breaks as she confesses, “I can feel her in me.”

Duration: 113 min


IMDb: 7.7

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Sunday’s Illness