On a slow weekend during the hot summer, I decided to choose a random movie to watch in theaters in order to enjoy the air conditioned rooms. Though “Instructions Not Included” was an unexpected Spanish film, it brought me on a roller coaster ride of emotions from full belly laughs to impending anger and bawling cries.
The film is set in Acapulco, Mexico, where Valentin (actor and director of Instructions Not Included, Eugenio Derbez), a resident playboy, meets his blued eyed daughter, Maggie (Loreto Peralta), for the first time. After a quick hello and a goodbye, the baby’s mother, Julie (Jessica Lindsey), disappeared in a cab. Valentin quickly realizes that the mother was never coming back and sets out on a journey to Los Angeles in hopes of finding her.
Derbez’s depiction of each character is what brought the movie to life. Peralta plays a mischievous daughter who is brought up in the fantasy world Valentin created. She follows her father to his stuntman job and watches naively. Each fatal act that her father performs covers the cost of their high standard of living. When the Julie returns to the picture, Maggie’s fantasy world is shattered by the harsh reality of the lies her father created.
This movie was truly an unexpected treat. Though it was pure laughter just watching Valentin’s struggle to become a father, the heart touching father-daughter moments, surprising twists in the plot, and a selfish mother, leaves the audience breathless in anticipation for the next unpredictable scene.
Instructions Not Included captures the beauty and endeavor of a father who teaches the audience a lesson in living each moment to the fullest, and showcases the self-sacrifice that a father makes in order to give his daughter the greatest gift: happiness.
Even the transitions from Spanish to English did not ruin the flow and breath-taking scenes in the movie. This movie is truly one to watch.