Te Presento a Laura is a likable, and quippy story from beginning to end. It is a simple feel good movie; like its main character, Laura, the movie seems to spend its days holding up a sign that reads “free hugs”. It is certainly a been-there-done-that type of film; neither profound nor elaborate it offers a little bit more of what we enjoy seeing in most films of its type. It doesn’t need to be anything more than that.
Like many feel good movies of its kind this is a love story between two quirky loners. Laura (Martha Higadera), who sometimes calls herself Valeria, Eva, and another variety of pseudonyms, is a cute little hipster who hangs out in Mexico City carrying a “free hugs” sign as she gives off hugs to strangers. In the evening she frequents a life support group for people who suffer from depression and/or have tried to commit suicide. It is not a cheery group. Laura’s presence illuminates the room, but it is clear she doesn’t belong there. Counter to Laura there is Sebastian (Kuno Becker), a semi-success full actor whose career is in shambles, and gets accused of manslaughter after a drunk-driving accident. Depressed and not wanting to face jail, Sebastian thinks about jumping off a building. Right where Laura happens to be giving free hugs.
If you haven’t figured out where this plot is headed then you do not watch that many movies. And you will probably enjoy this one. The one true quality in the film is Higadera’s performance. She is a find. Like Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer, she is such a likable weirdo it is hard not to fall in love with her even when she is clearly mentally unstable at times. It is a shame her only Hollywood credit is the direct to DVD sequel to Smokin Aces.
The film premiered in Mexico a few months ago, and it just started doing it round in the states within a few film festivals. Most likely you won’t here about it until it comes out on DVD, and you somehow stumble into a “discount” DVD store in East LA. If you do happen to see it, avoid buying it there.