'Problemista' Movie Review: A Weird But Funny Movie

 Review: Tilda Swinton and Julio Torres in Problemista movie

Julio Torres writes, directs, and stars in PROBLEMISTA, a peculiar but charming film that brings a unique perspective to work visas and the immigration process.

Alejandro (Torres), a Salvadoran immigrant on a work visa, needs a sponsor to keep him in New York City. The aspiring toy designer has big dreams, but the immigration process makes a mess of his life. With no other options, Alejandro convinces a neurotic art-world outcast (Tilda Swinton) to hire him to secure sponsorship.

Isabella Rossellini narrates the story as if it were a wildlife documentary a la Sir David Attenborough. New York City is portrayed as a jungle-like, dog-eat-dog environment. RZA and Greta Lee also make cameos. 

The former SNL writer and co-creator of the hilarious series, Los Espookys (streaming on MAX) has a knack for the oddball, and PROBLEMISTA is no different. He brings a child-like naivety to Alejandro which makes him endearing but also frustrating when he doesn’t stand up for himself.

If Tilda Swinton is involved, you know what you’re in for with her usual quirkiness and eccentricities. Elizabeth doesn’t make it easy for Alejandro as her employee, but he’s forced to deal with the madness because of his immigration status.

Torres speaks from experience as an immigrant from El Salvador, he told CineMovie, and he met a few neurotic people along the way which influenced Swinton’s character. 

PROBLEMISTA brings to light a subject matter rarely spoken about. We often hear that undocumented persons should simply take the legal route, but the American immigration process is a complicated process that doesn’t work for either status. Torres provides insight into the other side of the argument.

PROBLEMISTA isn’t for everyone if you’re looking for a straight-forward narrative but at least it doesn’t overstay its welcome at 98 minutes.

PROBLEMISTA is now in select movie theaters and will expand screens on March 22.

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