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Santiago, Chile, 1973: Pedro Machuca is a poor boy of tribal descent, brought into an upper class private school during Chile's brief socialist era. Gonzalo, the well-to-do boy seated a row ahead, befriends Pedro against the bullying will of his classmates. In so doing, he discovers a raw, thrilling but wildly complicated world outside his own previously sheltered homelife. Pedro's fierce, attractive young neighbor Silvana by turns mocks Gonzalo's pampered background, only to fondly lead both boys in a number of kissing games. All around them, Chile drifts towards civil war. The… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Though the film would benefit from further cuts, Machuca still manages to convey the frailty of convictions and the difficulties of growing up -- be it a child or a nation."
‑ Marta Barber, Miami Herald
"That rare film that merges the personal and political without sacrificing restraint or intellectual honesty."
‑ Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"Chilean director Andres Wood sharply observes and re-creates the era."
‑ Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"A visually stirring film that asks many questions about Chile's 1973 coup, without providing any easy answers."
‑ Matthew Smith, Film Journal International
"The film fleshing out the central characters, lending credence to their personal experience of historically sweeping events"
‑ Arthur Lazere,
"Thanks to a pristine eye for period detail and strong acting skills by the entire cast, there's no need for the script to press any points."
‑ Ted Fry, Seattle Times
"[The film has] an unerring eye for time and place that's counterbalanced by an overly passive, if sympathetic, central character."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"[The film] examines how this unstable social climate strains the incipient friendship between two boys."
‑ Stina Chyn, Film Threat
"Has moments of vivid clarity and power, mixed randomly with clunky samples of other coming-of-age films."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"As perceptive about youth as were the French New Wave films, and in its wide sympathy and honest outrage extends some of the rich implications of The Motorcycle Diaries."
‑ David Elliott, San Diego Union-Tribune
"A fine, exciting film that makes a bloody historical event live all over again by showing it through the eyes of children on the edges of the conflict."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"It's a sensitively wrought work that reveals a time in Chile when class differences were both ignored and emphasized, depending on your perspective."
‑ Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle
"Wood is content to pace his film with a methodic leisure that both suits his tone and stretches his story a bit thin."
‑ Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
"Dense and well-crafted."
‑ Jeanne Aufmuth, Palo Alto Weekly
"Machuca doesn't just recite a history lesson for us - it lives it as only two children on the cusp of adulthood can."
‑ Donald Munro, Fresno Bee
More reviews for Machuca on Rotten Tomatoes

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