Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Movie with Abe: The Mole Agent

The Mole Agent
Directed by Maite Alberdi
Released September 1, 2020 (Hulu)

The state of elder care in the world is rife with problems, presenting the opportunity for abuse due in part to the more limited capacity of those in need of assistance. While there are countless healthcare professionals and volunteers who devote hours each day to providing tremendous, life-changing help to those who require it, there are those who take an easier route that they know will likely not get them into trouble since the people they neglect or treat poorly will not report it. Such malpractice and mistreatment is typically dealt with in a serious manner, and a lighter approach here combines a legitimate investigation with an unexpectedly amusing undercover operation.

A private detective in Chile, Rómulo, has been hired by a client who believes that her mother is not being properly cared for at her nursing home. Rómulo puts out a call for a technologically savvy man in his eighties or nineties who can infiltrate the facility and get close to the woman in question to determine if indeed these claims are legitimate. Enter Sergio, a subdued charmer whose FaceTime skills leave much to be desired but who certainly fancies himself a secret agent reporting on his latest findings.

There is much humor to be found here in the way that Sergio is found and the way he conducts himself, walking very conspicuously from door to door to find the right room and taking copious notes the entire time. He befriends residents quickly and even finds one woman eager to form a romantic relationship with him, something he matter-of-factly ignores as he tries to stick to his true mission, though he also becomes distracted by the way others are not fully addressed when they are agitated or interested in something.

The poster for this film shows Sergio holding a magnifying glass over his eye with Rómulo looking like a private eye from decades ago in the background, indicating the comedic nature that appears to be the aim here. It is indeed an enjoyable and humorous ride, one that has more lasting and thought-provoking implications when pondered, like the fact that Sergio plans to check out of the nursing home at the end of this job, in part to see the family that does come to visit him, unlike others at the facility, even though he may one day need to return for good. The scenes from this film, entertaining as they may be, might hit too close to home for those who have experienced similar moments, but this Oscar finalist for both the International Feature and Documentary categories is a fun and worthwhile adventure.

B+

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