Arrugas (2011) {spoiler alert}

“Here, it is just important not to fall into depression.”

Arrugas aka Wrinkles is the first Spanish animation film that I’ve ever watched and I’m fairly impressed and encouraged to check out more of this genre.

It is a movie about old people left to the care of an elderly nursing facility. It is the trend in the developed world, I suppose – oldage homes. I was a little confused about the setting of the movie up until the snowy Christmas. At first, I presumed it was in Argentina but then I realised it might be in Spain. Because if it was set in Argentina, I think oldage homes might not be so commonplace – I need to research this. 

Arrugas does an excellent job of depicting the elderly and their problems. They are human beings who have lived their lives and now that they are falling apart, they have essentially been abandoned by their families.

When Miguel first takes Emilio on a tour of the facility, Emilio comments that the living room looks like a waiting room and that is essentially what it feels like – a waiting room for death. It sounds morbid but that is what it must feel like with your bodies disintegrating, no longer an active part of the society and steadily deteriorating physically and mentally. 

But this is not just a tale showcasing elderly life. And that is what I loved about this movie.

Even in the dusk of life, there are ways to make life meaningful – and that is what is needed at any stage of life, really: for life to have some meaning.

Miguel, who regularly comments how awful the top floor is (it is where the elderly who cannot take of themselves anymore live), ends up moving there with Emilio, who has finally succumbed to Alzheimer’s. Miguel is a conman at first, entertaining himself at the expense of these senile people. He is conning them out of their money while saying that he is doing them a favour. As he becomes more attached to Emilio, Miguel first starts genuinely caring for his roommate and then really turns over a new leaf in the end. Emilio’s condition is worsening and he doesn’t really know how he is affecting Miguel. But Miguel still takes care of him, finding meaning in it. It was really heart warming.

Modesto and Dolores’ little love story towards the end was also absolutely charming.

The depiction of Alzheimer’s disease through Emilio was well done. I liked the way he would keep going back to the past while forgetting the immediate present. Even so, in the end he responds to Miguel’s personal nickname for him, and that was very sweet.

Because I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I’m just going to guess that Miguel is gay and that might be a reason why he never married and had no one taking care of him and ended up at the facility even though he seems to be completely fine. He has these occasions where be insists life is crap – and maybe his lifestyle made life hard for him. He loses his roommate and that probably makes him bitter, too. But Miguel and Emilio’s story in the end follows the pattern of Dolores and Modesto and that just made me think about it. It is just that labelling a character seems frivolous but I’m just going to say that Miguel loves Emilio. Antonia says that Miguel does not understand why Dolores moved to top floor with Modesto because he has never loved. So when Miguel does move, isn’t it because he finally understands love? I had a strong feeling about this so I thought I would mention this. Also, it was so adorable, I couldn’t resist.

I need to hunt down Paco Roca’s original graphic novel and find more movies by Ignacio Ferreras.

Personally, I have to deal with the elderly for over sixty percent of my work life, and while I find it very trying at times, I’m definitely going to think of this movie when I go back to work tomorrow.

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