“Despite Everything” also known as “A Pesar de Todo” in Spanish, is a Spanish comedy on Netflix.
It was written and directed by Gabriela Tagliavini. The story follows four sisters, Sara (Bianca Suarez), Lucia (Mecarena Garcia), Sofia (Amaia Salamanca) and Claudia (Been Cuesta) who are reunited after the passing of their mother, Carmen (Marisa Parades) only to discover that the man, Pedro (Juan Diego) who they always knew to be their dad is not their biological father.
Sara is a New York City fashion editor. She is soft and sweet. Lucia on the contrary seems to be having a hard-knock life. She is her mother’s daughter. And has one night stands with men whose names she does not now. Lucia believes that she does not fit into her family. Thirdly, we meet Sofia. She is a lesbian. It’s no secret to her family, yet she is not ready for her family to meet her partner. Sofia is also no-nonsense woman. The last of the sisters is Claudia. She acts like the elders of them – although the film does not explicitly state so. Claudia is the only one who lives in Madrid where their parents also live. She is a socialite whose marriage is in ruins. Yet she puts up a front.
After the funeral, the sisters to for the reading of their mother’s will. The Notary tells them that Carmen wants half of what she owned to go towards the care of Pedro. She left a video with instructions. However, before the women can access the other half of the inheritance, they must find their father or fathers. She could easily have revealed the identity of the father(s). But Carmen’s ploy is to get her daughters to bond after being part for long.
That being so, as they try to solve the paternity conundrum, some of them get disappointed. Others felt betrayed. While some will just accepted the truth as it came. What is most important is that Carmen got her daughters to accept their own realities. And they all became the women they ought to be.
The premise of “Despite Everything” is very interesting. It is essentially about a sexually-liberal woman who gets pregnant outside her marriage because her husband is sterile. Are there consequences to her actions? In the case, not really. While Pedro was vividly angry at Carmen’s funeral, it turns out that there were not much consequences to her actions.
“Despite Everything” would have done better as a full length feature as opposed to a short film. Unfortunately, its 78-minutes runtime happens to be its biggest disadvantage. The screenplay did not give the audience enough to chew on. Because 78 minutes is way to short to do justice to the subject matter.
As we see, the sisters have very different personalities and have taken different paths. But sadly, there is no backstory to help the audience understand how they became who they are. Or what their motivations are. Rather, the story is rushed and so, the movie falls way below its potential. However, the director did a commendable job with the casting.