“Mr. Pig” had a loose working script and it shows. This movie is in need of some serious content editing (the constant drinking scenes, leisurely driving shots and an overly long dinner scene at a pig farm could all be cut to help the story move along). Oddly enough, I found myself bored to tears in places but then riveted in others.
Writer-director Diego Luna has a lovely eye for directing, but the overuse of handheld camera shots and popular music were both super distracting to the point that both really hurt this movie. Danny Glover and Maya Rudolph give convincing, touching performances as an estranged father and daughter who find themselves on ‘one last hurrah’ road trip through Jalisco, Mexico that turns into a journey to find forgiveness and joy.
The themes are heavy, delving deep into the mechanics of emotion in human relationships with our parents (and with animals), ultimately exploring compassion when it comes to our own mortality and a basic understanding that humans and animals should all die with dignity.
An elderly displaced farmer (Danny Glover) sets out with his hog, Howard, on a road trip to Mexico where he is joined by his estranged daughter (Maya Rudolph). Traveling through Jalisco, the three have a chance to bond and reconcile.
“Mr. Pig” is a skillfully-directed meandering meditation on the importance of finding fun and joy in life. The problem is that it’s TOO meandering. There’s some good stuff here — particularly some memorable scenes between the farmer and his hog — but this movie (like many at Sundance) is about 45 minutes of content stretched out over 90 minutes. Stretching for “feature length” is a common problem with Sundance filmmakers, and watering down a story always results in a far less compelling movie. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was bored during parts of the movie — I wasn’t — but I wasn’t fully engaged, either.