“Cassandro” (Prime Video) Movie Review by Rafy Mediavilla (@Rmediavilla) #Cassandro
Saúl Armendáriz, a gay amateur wrestler from El Paso, rises to international stardom after he creates the character Cassandro, the “Liberace of Lucha Libre.” In the process, he upends not just the macho wrestling world, but also his own life.
It is no secret that I’m a fan of Pro Wrestling, or Lucha Libre in Spanish, so that is one thing that already had me interested in screening Cassandro. To some expect I can say I’m a fan of Bad Bunny so yeah let’s add to the mix of reasons to watch the movie. But then we add that Gael Garcia Bernal is the star of the whole show in a movie that is based on a true story. Yes, once you put all these pieces together we all know I was sold.
Story-wise, Cassandro embodies the meaning behind the term “en la lucha”, not only because the story as a whole is about an open gay luchador from Mexico, but the story and how is told for this movie dives into every single battle he had to go through in his life in order to find his worth. His battle with his family, his in-ring personality, his love life, and the world as they see him. Between all of these battles, Lucha Libre was just the platform that gave him all the answers he was looking for.
Performance-wise, undoubtedly Gael Gracia Bernal shines, as he carries this film from start to finish. We can see the emotions on his face as he battles the struggles with his personal, his love life, and his family. How he wants to be accepted by the fan for who he is, The Exotic one, the extravagant one. Geal did an amazing job truly getting into his character, understanding his mannerisms, and the way he walks, and talks. In my opinion, this is one of Geal’s career award-worthy performances, and if you are looking for a reason this performance alone is reason enough to go watch this movie, either in theaters or on Prime Video.
Another aspect of the movie that I absolutely loved was the production design and is wardrobe. The producers did a great job at recreating the times, and the way The Exotic one presented himself both in his personal and as a wrestler. I loved the changing tones of the story, the dark moments, and the lighter ones, Director Roger Ross Willams did a great job at making sure we as spectators had to chance to be part of these changes, the highs and the lows.
While I do believe the general audience will not be drawn to a theater by the narrative of this Lucha Libre story, Geal’s performance is well worth the price of admission, and the story tells of the importance of following your dreams and fighting for your self-worth.