TIFF 2017: ‘Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle’ (‘Muchos Hijos, un Mono y un Castillo’) Review

lots of kids a monkey and a castle tiff 2017


Playing out more like a series of home movies than a documentary, Lots of Kids, a Monkey, and a Castle follows director Gustavo Salmerón’s family and his eccentric mother, Julita. As a newlywed, she wished for three things: the eponymous lots of kids, a monkey and a castle. They were ambitious dreams for sure, but one by one they all came true. However, as she falls victim to the financial crisis, the events that follow hit us with the cruel reality that dreams may not be as great as we make them out to be.

Julita has a larger-than-life personality – she has many stories from her childhood that her children don’t even know about (she was a member of the right-wing Falangist Party, possibly because she thought the founder was attractive), she’s a borderline obsessive hoarder and she’s an unapologetic straight-talker. Her life is almost interwoven with the state of Spain: the loss of her castle acting like some sort of premonition for the King of Spain’s abdication. She’s a woman full of opinions and philosophies on death, but also fears and regrets.

More than anything, the documentary is about a loving, united family overcoming struggle together. Despite what comes their way, they experience life with affection and a hefty share of banter. Salmeron combines decades worth of footage for a heartwarming but melancholic familial tale.

Rating: 7/10

Public Screenings: Sept 10 7:15 pm, Sept 12 9:45 pm, Sept 15 3:15 pm

Find all of our TIFF 2017 reviews and coverage here.

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