Sundance Exclusive Review: Mucho Mucho Amor

Year: 2020
Runtime: 96 Minutes
Directors: Cristina Costantini, Kareem Tabsch

By Rosa Parra

“Mucho Mucho Amor” is a documentary following the life of the iconic Puerto Rican astrologer, Walter Mercado. When I first heard that this documentary would be screened at Sundance, it immediately became my most anticipated film because I grew up watching him. I can recall seeing him on television Monday through Friday on Primer Impacto at approximately 5:45 pm to give the horoscope of the day.

As this documentary accurately depicts, everybody at the house had to be quiet while he was on. We will all sit quietly and pay close attention to see what our horoscope will say, but then that was it, and we will continue with our day. I never knew anything outside of the celebrity, and this documentary navigates through Walter’s life, all leading to a special 50-year commemoration.

“Walter represented hope and was a ray of light that many Latino families needed. Of course, his light wouldn’t be nearly as effective without his glamorous, extravagant capes…and the overall image he created”

This documentary is told through his family, his close friend (who wasn’t only Walter’s right hand but his left one too), some famous admirers (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Eugenio Derbez), journalists, and Walter himself. I was impressed by the way this documentary was told with Tarot cards as interstitials. During the Q and A, it was asked why they chose this format, and they concluded that Walter’s life directly reflected some of these cards, so it fits to tell his story in this manner.

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His childhood story, as well as his acting and dancing background, surprised me. Watching his older interviews was nostalgic, and I couldn’t stop thinking of my mother, who I miss dearly. Walter represented hope and was a ray of light that many Latino families needed. Of course, his light wouldn’t be nearly as effective without his glamorous, extravagant capes, his makeup, and the overall image he created, which he effortlessly embraced.

“In a world where homophobia is prevalent, he decided to make and break the mold. He wasn’t ordinary, and he wore it as a badge.”

I grew older and never bothered to continue watching Univision (regularly) and didn’t realize he had stopped working. I was shocked when the documentary addresses why as I genuinely had no idea what had happened. They show a Lin Manuel Miranda side story that I adored. So many of us (myself included) are Lin-Manuel Miranda in this film. Walter never allowed his age to get the best of him. His presence and optimism inspired and helped millions. In a world where homophobia is prevalent, he decided to make and break the mold. He wasn’t ordinary, and he wore it as a badge. His controversial decision to take the good aspects of every dominant religion and incorporate them into one was fascinating (and this is coming from an atheist).

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Walter Mercado was an international one-of-a-kind phenomenon. To many Latino families, he was the symbolism of hope. To those who don’t know about him, I beg you to watch this documentary. It’s about a man who decided how he’ll live his life and decided to take the “I don’t care” pill for the remainder of his life. His success and colourful appearance will eventually be the target of jokes and unwelcome imitation. But his pill will take effect immediately. Walter passed away a few months after this documentary was done, and the filmmakers believe that Walter knew about his upcoming death, and that’s why he decided to make this film. Luckily, this movie has been bought out by Netflix, so it should be streaming in the summer.

Walter’s message was to live life to the fullest, and the ultimate purpose of life is amor (love).

4.5 stars

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