Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths Movie Review

Visually, this is one of the most stunning films I’ve ever seen. Having seen many of those lately, it’s easy to blow me off when I say that, but “Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths” is different. You could watch this movie without the sound on and still understand it. Unless you’re fluent in Spanish, you are anyway; since the subtitles fly by so quickly it’s hard to catch what they’re saying. But that’s okay. You don’t really need them. The sound design, cinematography and editing are impeccable, creating for you a world you’re still determining is real.

At one point, the lead actor, Daniel Giménez Cacho, who plays Silverio, slowly walks out of the city onto the beach where a massive structure of a woman lies breathing, barely alive. Scenes like this, with their deeper meanings, such as clothing all over the desert near the border of the United States and Mexico and a woman dropping to the ground in the city, not dead but not found, make this movie a profound mix of shock and pleasure for the eyes, the heart and the intellect.


The imagery, coupled with the beautiful music, make the two-hour and thirty-nine-minute long movie bearable. Some scenes could have been shortened or removed, as the points were made in previous scenes. However, when they make a second appearance, their presence strengthens the important commentary and criticisms that writers Alejandro González Iñárritu and Nicolás Giacobone don’t want you to miss. Several times, Amazon’s corporate takeover of Baja California is brought up. No doubt because it has the backing of the United States government.

A scene where Hispanics are not allowed to call the U.S. home, even though they’ve lived there for years, is paramount to the message the director hopes to convey. Still, it’s the scenes with little Mateo that will capture you the most. 


Interestingly, Bardo’s definition is “the state of the soul between death and rebirth. Limbo.” In the beginning, baby Mateo is born. After he comes out, he decides he doesn’t want to be born into this world… it’s too “Fucked up.” He’d rather stay inside, so he’s put back in. Mateo is brought up a few more times. In one scene, you’re likely never to forget his face. Toward the end of the film, in a beautiful, moving scene, he and the family circle around him, somewhere between life and death, as he swims into the ocean.

This movie is heavy. As most of Iñárritu’s work already is, it’ll be discussed by critics and in film classes forever.

The story spirals into itself several times, is deeply meaningful and has a lot to say. You have to take it seriously enough to let it get inside of you and stay there awhile. That’s when it plays with your emotions before you watch it again, simply for the acting and its beauty. It must be broken down to truly understand it, asking of the audience more than one viewing, which you’ll be more than delighted to accommodate.


Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths  


Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Producer: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Stacy Perskie
Writer: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone
Starring: Daniel Giménez Cacho, Griselda Siciliani

Rating: R (Graphic Nudity|Strong Sexual Content|Language Throughout)
Runtime: 2h 39m
Genres: Comedy, Drama

Release Date (Theaters): Nov 18, 2022 
Release Date (Streaming): Dec 16, 2022
Distributor: Netflix


Rating contributor: ShariK.Green tmc
I'm the Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager for I write, direct and produce short films with my production company, Good Stew Productions. Though it's difficult to answer this question when asked, I'd say my favorite movie is “The Big Chill.” I enjoy photography, poetry, and hiking and I adore animals, especially elephants. I live in Arizona and feel it's an outstanding and inspirational place to live.

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