September 25 – 2PM + 7:30PM
Ireland, 2018 – Rated: 14A – 98 minutes
English/Spanish with English subtitles
Directed by John Butler
Cast: Matt Bomer, Alejandro Patiño
John Butler’s Papi Chulo, which follows the Irish writer-director’s acclaimed coming-of-age film Handsome Devil, is a poignant and very timely story of two worlds colliding in the same great city — and the delightfully unlikely friendship that emerges.
Devastated with heartbreak, Los Angeles TV weatherman Sean (Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart, television’s White Collar) has an on-air meltdown in the midst of predicting a heat wave. The station insists he take a sabbatical and his friends urge him to find someone to talk to, but Sean opts to swap self-care for home improvement. From a huddle of men seeking day labour outside the hardware store, Sean hires Ernesto (a brilliantly deadpan Alejandro Patiño, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) to paint his deck.
Their initially straightforward business arrangement rapidly extends to strolling and boating excursions, during which Sean tells Ernesto all about himself — despite the fact that the two don’t share a common language. In fact, this affluent, white, gay celebrity and this working-class, Mexican father of five don’t appear to have much in common at all. Does Sean want a tradesman or a sounding board? And just how much immersion in Sean’s emotional mire can Ernesto be expected to bear?
At once a heartwarming examination of empathy in action, a charming culture-clash comedy, and a sharp critique of xenophobic stereotypes, Papi Chulo reminds us of the importance of truly seeing others… even while tending to our own internal wounds.
“It’s the synergistic performances of Matt Bomer, playing raw and broken, and Alejandro Patiño, conveying decency and nonjudgmental compassion behind his deadpan raised eyebrows, that make the movie click.”
—David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter