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Sundance 2020 Review: “High Tide” (2020) ★★★★


Something extraordinary must occur in a movie, like the one that unfolds in “High Tide”, to make the viewer feel the absolute bottom of morbid despair. Films like this normally prepare you for something insane but the insanity you’ll witness in this movie reaches a whole new level, trust me, which will take more than a fair amount of time to process adequately.

Laura (Gloria Carrá) is a privileged rich woman who perhaps thinks that she is the center of the world. She thinks of herself as a beautiful, attractive, and not easily approachable woman. However, a swift advance from her lead building contractor, Weisman (Jorge Sesán), takes them both to her bedroom where they have passionate sex. The woman loses her mind after Weisman disappears, leaving her alone with his contractors who begin abusing her hospitality, patience, and sanity which they had no idea had its limits.

It starts with Laura, a middle-aged woman who’s full of herself, dancing at her beach house where she has a minor construction work to be done. This is when Weisman approaches her, offering first to change the music, then joining her in her dance. From that moment on, everything goes beyond anyone’s imagination. After spending the night with the man, she hopes that he will reappear but to her surprise, does not. Meanwhile, his workers, especially Toto, begin ruining her construction project through reckless actions, irresponsible consumption of alcohol, throwing parties, and doing drugs. Laura keeps receiving calls from her absent husband, Andres, from whom we gather that Laura does not really do well with workers based on her previous experience. However, what happens at the beach house will test her limits in the most remarkable way.

Written and directed by Veronica Chen, “High Tide” is a very clever psychological drama that centers around one woman who thinks she can manage everything by herself. It’s about a woman who is open to new challenges, affairs, and feelings which she most likely did not realize even existed. She is not a bad woman, just spoiled. However, to say she is likable is not what Laura might deserve to hear from us. The nuanced performance from Gloria Carrá paints the right picture of Laura, we all should see from a few different angles. Carrá takes the character, embodies it, and lets the woman play her own tune until Laura loses the sense of a serene life.

In the end, there’s a lot we can take away from Laura’s experience. However, one thing’s for sure – we would not like to be either her construction worker or her friend or conspirator. There will be someone in the audience who will agree with her madness but none will justify her decision to avenge her loneliness or rejection by a man who made the decision to distance himself from any trouble; a man who did not realize that trouble is her maiden name.

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