Is Gael Garcia Bernal the next big foreign star to hit the United States. If you’ve seen, Amores Perros, La Mala Educacion, The Motorcycle Diaries and Y Tu Mama Tambien, then you know he should be.
If you haven’t, read this article and decide if Bernal has what it takes to make a successful crossover into Hollywood cinema with The Science of Sleep and Babel. I think he does. Some excerpts:
Is America ready for Gael Garcia Bernal?
Gael García Bernal has long been the darling of foreign film fans. The subtitle set first met him as Octavio in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores Perros, and then as Julio Zapata, the hormonally charged teenager in Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También. Audiences have seen him inhabit an ethically conflicted priest and a drug addicted transvestite in El Crimen del Padre Amaro and La Mala Educación, respectively. In his best known role to American audiences, Bernal played a young Che Guevara, crossing Latin America and growing a social conscience in The Motorcycle Diaries.
Bernal specializes in grit and gravitas, not rescuing people from invading spaceships, sucking snakes out of planes, or hunting down bad guys as a cop with a temper. His characters do not always get the girl. Often, they make us squirm in our seats. But no matter how taboo a film’s subject, Bernal’s characters are always fascinatingly human — flawed, seeking redemption. Who cares if we relate? We find it nearly impossible to look away.
In The Science of Sleep, the new film by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michael Gondry, Bernal shows off his English, and gives American audiences the chance to meet him without their reading glasses on. Bernal plays Stéphane, a man who struggles to distinguish between dreams and reality, even as he’s wooing his similarly named neighbor, Stéphanie, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg. Will Bernal appeal to a broad American audience? And will his trademark — the ability to move between intense emotion and a goofy kind of earnest sweetness — translate into English and carry a film that is, well, a little weird to begin with? […]
The beauty, the mystery, the wonder of Gael García Bernal is simple: He can make us feel a little dirty in films that make us more than a little uncomfortable. Sometimes, as in “The Science of Sleep” he can even make us wonder if our drink was spiked. As an actor’s actor and one with enough talent to breathe life into a revenge-seeking transvestite, an over-testosteroned teenager on a NC-17 road trip, a nascent revolutionary, and a waking dreamer, he’s set to take over America — on his own terms.
What is your take on this article? Looking forward to seeing Gael Garcia Bernal is more movies? Or should he stick to Spanish-language productions? Sound off below.