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Film Review - Childish Games
by Thelma Freedman

Director: Antonio Chavarrias, Spain

In the psychothriller Dictado Daniel (Juan Diego Botto) and Laura (Bárbara Lennie) are married and teachers at the same school. The only thing missing in their marriage is a child. One day Mario - a friend who Daniel has not seen since a horrible childhood incident separated them - shows up and asks him to meet his daughter Julia (Mágica Pérez). He refuses but, when Mario commits suicide, Julia becomes Daniel and Laura‘s foster child. Julia reminds him eerily of Daniel‘s sister who died as part of that repressed childhood incident. Julia says things that only the dead girl could have said.

The movie is chilling. The psychological effects of Daniel‘s childhood trauma/drama escalate and his feelings of guilt grow and grow. Unfortunately, the film‘s supernatural elements just smother you instead of keeping you interested. It all becomes TOO unreal in the wrong sense.