Socorro is directed by Marshal Davis and is a dramatic piece following a sick child and her father, Marcelo. The young girl has a disease that isn’t named but is considered to be terminal. Marcelo is desperately trying to keep her alive and heal her, and in that desperation he prays for a miracle. This type of story has been shown in many different iterations, but what makes Socorro work is its cultural setting and main characters.
There is a great scene in the beginning between Marcelo and his daughter in which he tells a story about a candle from his family. The story revolves around Our Lady of Guadalupe (also known to us westerners as Mary Magdalene), and it inspires the father to go to a church to pray for his daughter. While Marcelo is praying, the film becomes surreal as Guadalupe appears to him and is able to visit his daughter. Without going into anything else because it would spoil the story, the film becomes a heart-breaking look at what a parent would do for their child and an introspective look at how we deal with grief and loss. I personally do not have kids, but due to the impact of the story, I found myself relating to Marcelo more than I thought possible considering the 30 minutes I was given with him.
The performance of Marcelo really shines in this short. There is depth and character to his scenes, and you empathize immediately with him and his relationship with his daughter. The film relies heavily on his heartache and anguish from knowing that he is powerless to save his child’s life, and he delivers a strong performance to carry it through and make an impact.
I do not speak Spanish, but because of the actor’s performance, I rarely needed to even look at the subtitles to know exactly what he was saying. Guadalupe’s performance was subtle and beautiful. Her character was set up well and used the right amount to not seem like you are watching a dark version of “A Christmas Carol.” The daughter, who is not named in the film, gives a good performance as well. She’s mostly confined to a bed the entire time; however, as far as child actors go, this is a good performance.
On a technical level, the film is well executed. However, some of the set locations seemed more staged than an actual hospital. There are some good moments to get you indie film-lovers’ hearts pumping, particularly shots in the church where Marcelo goes to pray for Guadalupe to save his daughter’s life.
The film is more of a slow-burn and is evenly paced. To some, that may be a deal-breaker, but, if you stick through, there are many rewarding moments in the final act. If you enjoy dramatic character pieces, you’ll have a good time with this film. It has heart, emotion, takes a look into a different culture and,in the end, showcases real human emotions that anyone can relate to. With strong performances from the two leads and a powerful message, Socorro grips you by the heart and doesn’t let go.