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Movie Review: Mondays in the Sun (Los Lunes al Sol)

Alternate Title: Power to the People

Story: This film represents everything I love about foreign films. Director and writer Fernando Leon de Aranda depicts the often told story of unemployed workers and their melancholy. But it is done with simple style, wit and reality. There are no Hollywood touches or flourishes. It is set in the present - in the NW corner of Spain where a shipbuilding town has closed shop and laid off hundreds of men. With no social security net these men flounder and rely on one another for support, loyalty and a more than occasional handout.

The film portrays this group as men who have fallen on hard times but still manage to glean some humor out of very dire circumstances. They represent the legions of people who fall behind in what we call progress in our global economy. I came to know these men in a very short period of time. It gave me hope for the promise of the human condition.

Acting: The ensemble cast is amazing with Javier Bardem leading the group in style and strength. He is an incredible actor and this time out reveals himself in a bear-like presence of a man who disappears into a role like no one else can.

Predilection: I am crazy about Javier Bardem. He is a member of a family of actors that has been making films since the early days of Spanish cinema (think the Barrymore family in the US). He got his start in the family's theater business at age six. During his teenage years he acted in several TV series, played rugby for the Spanish National Team, and toured the country with an independent theatrical group. He avoids stereotyping and chooses roles that stretch his physical appearance and acting experience. He was the first Spanish actor ever to be nominated for an Academy Award (Before Night Falls). He is also a painter.

Critters: Dead fish.

Food: Nothing to eat -- but loads to drink.

Visual Art: None.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: Unobtrusive

Opening Titles: Simple, as was the film.

Theater Audience: It was just me, the big screen and Javier. (Sigh.)

Predictability Level: Moderate.

Oscar Worthy: Javier is always Oscar worthy.

Nit Picking: It was a bit slow at times.

Big Screen or Rental: If you are a Javier Bardem fan, then the big screen is a must. If you are still lukewarm about him, why not check out these three other fabulous films? - The Dancer Upstairs, Before Night Falls, Jamon, jamon.

Length: Under two hours.