Cine Las Americas 16 Review: DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR

By Mark Saldana 

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 4)

Writer/director Iris Almaraz along with guest writer/director Gustavo Ramos deliver a sweet, hilarious and heart warming portrait of a late blooming, young lady pursuing an adult life on her own. Lulu (Leana Daly), a twenty-something year old woman still lives with her father and stepfamily and works as a barista in a San Francisco coffee shop. Unhappy with her lack of privacy and a bit numb from taking an anti-depressant, Lulu decides to move on her own when a transgendered coffee shop customer named Illusion (Salvador Benavides) offers Lulu a room in her house. This move becomes a life changing experience for Lulu as she exuberantly enjoys her freedom and pursues adulthood.  She also learns much about love as she, Illusion, and new friend Rocio (Rina Fernandez) pursue love in all the wrong ways and places.

Almaraz and Ramos present a highly enjoyable film hitting most of the right comedic notes. Lulu is at an awkward stage in her life, trying to find and express her womanhood. This provides plenty of sources of humorous material. The main weakness I found with the film comes from some of the performances of the supporting cast members. I’m sure this comes from working on a limited budget. Still, some of the actors’ performances were distractingly poor. I will say that at least the lead cast members perform admirably. As Lulu, Leana Daly does a fine job, as does Rina Fernandez who portrays a slightly bitter flower vendor.  The real standout, scene stealing performance comes from Salvador Benavides who shines and is a hysterical joy to behold as Illusion.  In addition to the solid writing by Almaraz and Ramos, the Illusion character earns this film my recommendation.

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