Surprisingly incredible! Everything about this was of the highest quality. The acting by children and adults is stellar (propelled by years of stage acting together), the cinematography is great, and even Diego Luna does an excellent excellent job. I’m not even sure why this all gelled together so way but it did. This film makes you feel and emote uncontrollably, I was among many wiping tears off their face in the end. The film is about family and abandonment. Definitely recommend seeing this one.
Here is a conversation via comments between a reader and I that I thought added a lot to the review:
I loved this film at Sundance, and especially enjoyed the characteristics of Luna's direction that seem to include him in the pantheon of great Latin American filmmakers working right now (Innaritu, both Cuarons). The comedic elements seem to enhance the effectiveness of the story's tragedies rather than subverting them, and I think the cinematography coming out of Latin America right now is incredible.
Very interesting that you compare the film to Innaritu and the Cuarons. I personally like the way it diverges from them. I found Abel to be significantly more down to earth, and (I mean this in a positive way) less cinematic. Movies like 21 Grams, Babel, and Rudo y Cursi keep you at a distance, creating a feeling that you're been shown something. What Abel does which many of its fellow Sundance films often do so well, is invite you into its world in a very unpretentious fashion. Luna's greatest accomplishment that so many first time directors have trouble with, is letting the audience love the characters and be a part of their lives (not just watch them).