Lengua materna [Mother Tongue] (2010)

Lengua materna
Director: Liliana Paolinelli
Writer: Liliana Paolinelli
Cast: Claudia Lapacó, Virginia Innocenti, Claudia Cantero, Mara Santucho, María Simone
Part of: identities Festival

When Estella (Claudia Lapacó) finds out that her daughter Ruth (Virginia Innocenti) is gay and has been living with her partner for fourteen years, her first reaction is to faint. But despite the initial shock and a few reservations, Estella is determined to show Ruth that she loves her and to learn more about her life and what it is to be a lesbian. Ruth herself isn’t really sure what to make of that.

Lengua materna was really funny and very sweet. Claudia Lapacó is an excellent comedienne and Paolinelli’s script supports that every step of the way. I really enjoyed myself.


To be fair, Lengua materna isn’t the most subtle of films and sometimes the acting is a bit hammy. But that didn’t bother me one bit – I was way too busy laughing to mind things like that. Especially Lapacó really knows when to dial it up and when to tone it down. And she just has an awesome face.

But even apart from the physical comedy, it was just funny to see how Estella stumbles from one awkward situation to the next and just waltzes through, barely noticing how everybody else is cringing around her. And when she starts singing the toothpaste song, I was basically horizontal from laughter.


I really loved the idea of how Estella deals with Ruth’s sexuality. How she tries to be accepting and to understand, even when it’s obvious that she doesn’t really get it. And how she immediately tries to include Ruth’s partner. Even when she crosses the line sometimes (and even when she’s quoting psychobabble), I think a lot of parents who struggle with that topic could learn from Estella’s way of coping.

I just relly enjoyed watching Estella and Ruth grow closer together. That was fun.


Summarising: Entertaining.

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