New Movie Review: Cantinflas Biopic Is A Must See

Directed by Sebastian del Amo, the Cantinflas story is handled marvelously with two parallel stories; one in Mexico and the other one in Hollywood. Mario Moreno’s life story doesn’t start from his childhood like many other autobiographical movies, but begins as he travels from city to city in Mexico making ends meet however he can during the 40s and 50s.  Meanwhile in Hollywood, CA, producer Mike Todd (played by Michael Imperioli) is working on adapting Jules Verne’s novel “Around the World in Eighty Days” into a movie. His ideal casting would include Mario Moreno and Elizabeth Taylor who eventually becomes his wife in later years. The beautiful Uruguayan-born Mexican actress Barbara Mori portrays Elizabeth Taylor and pulls it off nicely, capturing her demure glances.


“Around the World in Eighty Days” would eventually star Mario Moreno and David Nivens. Moreno took home the award for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for the film in 1957 at the Golden Globes, beating out Marlon Brando and Yul Brenner. The comedy also won five Academy Awards including a Best Picture for producer Mike Todd. The CANTINFLAS movie chronicles Todd’s struggles to get the film made and getting the reluctant Mario Moreno on board.

While that’s going on in Hollywood, in Mexico we watch Mario Moreno evolve into his most famous character, Cantinflas. Cantinflas, a fast-talking peasant was born by accident. The film revolves around how he formed this character that would eventually become an international sensation around the world and dubbed the “Charlie Chaplin of Mexico.” Along the way he meets his future wife Valentina Ivanova and the love story also becomes central to the plot.

Luckily Mario Moreno isn’t your typical suffering artist who falls into a life of drugs because of the demons that haunt him like in so many biopics. Instead it tells the story of how a fledgeling artist came to be such a beloved icon in Mexico and in Latin America. The film chronicles his rise to stardom and how his celebrity-dom affected his personal life. The worse we see of the character is his infidelity to his poor suffering wife.

Not only is it enjoyable to watch how Cantinflas came to be but juxtaposing his story with Hollywood history. At first, the parallel stories seemed intrusive but it eventually had a purpose. It’s great fun to see Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Yul Brenner be part of the story and get a taste of what Hollywood was like during the golden era of cinema both in Mexico and Hollywood.


Spanish actor Oscar Jaenada was a marvelous choice and not only was the physical resemblance incredible, he nailed down all the mannerisms and voice down to a tee. When CineMovie interviewed the Spanish actor, it seems impossible that it's the same person who portrayed Cantinflas in the movie.

CANTINFLAS will make you more of a fan of Mario Moreno and you’ll want to relive or discover his comedies including “Around the World in Eighty Days.”

Zoe Saldana, Aleks Syntek, and Enrique Bunbury at CANTINFLAS Movie Premiere
Aleks Syntek On Composing Music for the Cantinflas Movie
Mexican Actress Ilse Salas On Playing Cantinflas' Wife & Working with Barbara Mori
Cantinflas Soundtrack Features Aleks Syntek, Enrique Bunbury, La Santa Cecilia, Paté de Fuá, Los Claxons

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