CANDELA Review- An Interconnected Tale of Loneliness

Candela is not the film you want to watch to be in a good mood afterward. Apparently based on a novel, the film follows 3 interconnected stories of lonely people in the days leading up to a hurricane. It uses a good amount of atmospheric lighting and quickly makes you feel sorry for its characters even if their stories aren’t as balanced as they could be. Candela is a solid downbeat movie that weaves together an engaging enough story that should keep you satisfied across its 80-minute runtime.

The Story of Candela

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With a disastrous hurricane looming, we follow the lives of 3 people in a small city: The depressed socialite Sera (Sara Jorge Leon) whose father is in the midst of a political campaign, lonely police officer Perez (Feilx German) as he takes on a missing person’s case on behalf of his estranged daughter, and Lubrini (Cesar Dominguez), a drag queen and boyfriend of the missing person desperate to pay off his debts to some dangerous criminals. Each will have to find a reason to fight another day even as the world darkens around them.

Candela Weaves a Fine if Flawed Narrative

The test of any film that uses interlocking plotlines is how interesting those plotlines are. In the case of Candela, I’m happy to say that each of the plotlines introduced and the characters within them engaged me. While I felt that they weren’t as well-balanced as they could have been in terms of screen time, each one is an important piece of the puzzle and kept me guessing how or if they would interact with the others.

The film often employs its visuals or the dampening of sound to communicate the characters’ loneliness rather than having them state it directly (though it does that too a couple of times). The best example of this is a scene early on with Sera where she appears to be at a wedding or other public function and the sound of happy attendants slowly drowns out as the camera pans over to see her dejected expression. She’s desperate to feel anything at all and has no one to talk to about it, thereby resorting to late-night hook-ups.

Unfortunately, much of Sera’s screen time is front-loaded and she gets far less focus after the first 3rd than I expected given her initial prevalence. If there’s one story here I wish I saw more of, it would be hers.

The Supporting Cast of Candela


Perez’s section of the story takes up the largest amount of screen time and does the best job connecting directly to the other characters. Like Sera, Perez is a lonely man who seeks sex with others to try and feel something, though the film uses the missing person’s case as a driving force to give his life purpose, even if only for a short while. It’s made clear he loves his daughter and wants a stronger relationship with her, but the reason for their estrangement isn’t made clear enough. He knows this missing person’s case will likely get ignored once the hurricane comes, so I appreciated the ticking clock in the background of his story.

Last but certainly not least, we have the titular Candela himself, Lubrini. His part in the story has less to do with the case itself and more to do with how his boyfriend’s death has unforeseen consequences for him. While he doesn’t appear depressed like Sera or Perez, Lubrini has a lot weighing on his shoulders, from the sadness over his boyfriend to the uncertainty around the hurricane to how he’ll make money to pay off criminals.

Given that the movie is named after him, I would have expected his story to be more of the centerpiece. He also stands out in being the least financially well-off of the three characters, and while that plays into his story, I was surprised the film didn’t lean into that more until the film was nearly over.

As well, there’s a character who opens the movie talking about his feelings on immigrants and how they’re treated (Sera’s father has recently passed an ill-described immigration bill), but he and that theme don’t connect as much with the story as it could have.

Overall, I enjoyed Candela for its downbeat atmosphere and interesting stories even if some could have used a bit more breathing room. Definitely check it out. You can stream it on October 10th.

After all that’s said and done, I’d rate Candela a 6 out of 10.

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Kevin Thomas

Kevin Thomas is a film-loving college graduate who has been writing film reviews since age 10. He approaches life with a sense of humor and optimism and lives in Georgia with his 2 dogs.