By Sabrina Rummani
El Faro De Las Orcas, or as you would say in English, “The Lighthouse of the Whales” is an Argentinian film set in the Pentagon. This film shows a young boy with autism who struggles to make emotional connections until he is touched by watching a park ranger named Beto played by Joaquin Furriel on television working with whales. As a result, the mother Lola played by Maribel Verdu and son Tristan played by Joanquin Rapalini travel from Madrid to Spain with the mother hoping that Beto can help her son. Having the film be set in Chubut Argentina, more specifically Valdes’ peninsula National Park where the ranger Beto works is crucial to the movie because it is known for its home to Southern Right whales and seals as shown in the movie. Gerardo Olivares has directed a heartwarming and emotional film. Different perspectives are shown throughout the movie such as a single mother struggling to take care of her child, Beto living completely isolated after he lost his wife and son, and the impact that small things can have such as the impact of a whale blowing on an autistic boy.
The Lighthouse of the Whales is based on a true story of how Beto was able to help Tristan more than anybody ever thought. It is a beautiful story that people felt the world should know about. It is a touching movie and made me take a second to sit back appreciate life. The overall setting of the movie massively contributes to the film. Olivares never fails to show the beauty of Argentina. Seeing just how stunning the crystal blue water is was gorgeous to witness throughout the movie.
The movie doesn’t make having a child with autism something to be ashamed of or that the mother took Tristan to see Beto to “fix” him. It was solely to increase the quality of his life and have him feel emotions. The movie serves an important purpose: connection is out there, being ill does not define you, and you choose how you will live your life and the way you look at it.
There were times throughout the movie where I would be jumping out of my chair with fear but also with excitement. Being an American and watching this movie made in Argentina, I was able to clearly understand the storyline and feel for the characters. However, I am not going to lie, there were times where I caught myself reaching for my phone due to some boredom. I was still invested in the movie; it just did not have my full attention 100% of the time due to some slow scenes or scenes that were limited to talking.
This film is a reminder that autism and other disorders should not be automatically dismissed. That just because somebody has a disorder there is nothing you can do. Tristan struggled to engage with emotions and express himself. His mother fought for him. When she saw Tristan reacting to something that made him happy, she did everything she could and started by going to Argentina to see Beto. The movie shows how Tristan reacts to certain sounds and events, which is how a lot of other autistic people behave. It was certainly eye opening to see how a little boy who is 11-years old with autism cannot do all the things that other boys do. The movie shows what Tristan goes through when he feels nervous or anxious, and it is not something that we see every day. The whole process of Beto working with Tristan was not an easy journey. Showing the rough patches, I believe is what made the film better because it was not all sugarcoated. It is important to be authentic and The Lighthouse of the Whales accomplished that.
The Lighthouse of the Orcas has a title that lives up to its name. As you watch the movie, there are scenes that take place at the lighthouse and scenes that speak of the lighthouse. However, it develops a form of symbolism. Tristan develops a connection with the lighthouse and that was a major accomplishment for him and his mother. From the lighthouse, you can see the ocean and whales swimming. Seeing that has been a key element for Tristan in order to connect with his emotions.