Raindance 2021 film review: My Heart Goes Boom! (Explota Explota)
Written by Belinda
Rating This jukebox musical based around the songs of Raffaella Carrà is an irresistible, feel-good delight.
Director Nacho Álvarez Cast: Ingrid García Johnson, Verónica Echegui, Fernando Guallar, Pedro Casablanc, Fernando Tejero, Natalia Millán Certificate: TBC Where to watch My Heart Goes Boom! online in the UK: Raindance 2021
ABBA, Frankie Valli and Four Seasons, The Proclaimers. You’re not a music legend until you’ve had a jukebox musical made from your songs. Now, Raffaella Carrà joins the club with this absolutely joyous celebration of music and dance.
Ingrid García Johnson stars as Maria, a young woman we meet as she leaves her fiance at the altar. Heading back to her home country of Spain, she gets work as an air hostess, where she happens to cross paths with TV producer Pablo (Fernando Guallar). A meet-cute involving a suitcase leads to another slightly-less-meet-cute with director Chimo (Fernando Tejero), who spies her dancing talents and turns her into a TV dancer. At the same time, though, censors are determined to keep the conservative values of Francoist Spain alive, and what ensues is a clash between the counter-cultural outburst of La Movida and the outgoing Spanish dictator.
Maria and Pablo are caught between those two forces, with artistic freedom, romance and her professional dreams all on the line. But while that might sound serious, My Heart Goes Boom! more than lives up to its exclamation mark, keeping things light and effervescent – the plot has enough substance to make its playlist coherent, but without getting bogged down in the details. It’s a theatrical tale, but not a melodramatic one.
Keeping this all balanced is Uruguayan filmmaker Nacho Álvarez, who, incredibly, is making his feature debut with confidence, wit and style – some meta-camerawork involving screens within screens are at once amusing in their own right and a way to shine a spotlight on the scene-stealing Verónica Echegui as Maria’s friend, Amparo.
The result is an “explota” of bright colours, vibrant costumes and entertaining choreography, powered by the greatest hits of Raffaella Carrà – including such gems as Adios Amigo (which features the inspired rhyming couplet of “Adiós amigo, goodbye my friend/ Ciao, ciao amigo, arriverderci, auf wiedersehen”). The cast play it like a Eurovision music video, earnest and playful in equal measure. The result is Italy and Spain’s answer to Mamma Mia! – a feel-good delight that’s impossible to resist.