Most Beautiful Island | SXSW Film Review

In Most Beautiful Island, Luciana – played by writer and director Ana Asensio – is an undocumented woman living in New York City. Times are hard. She has multiple jobs and she’s not very good at any of them. When her friend presents an opportunity to make a lot of money for a small amount of time, she leaps at the chance. But as she soon finds out, there is always a price. The more questions she has, the fewer answers she receives, culminating in a hold-your-breath, chair-clinching finale.

Ana Asensio brings life experience and a mountain of tension to tell the story of Luciana. Asensio earns your heart early as a struggling nanny who’s doing everything she can to herd horribly spoiled children. She maintains this grasp on our emotions as the anxiety climbs from her potentially missing a party and, of course, to once she arrives.

Natasha Romanova plays the exotic Olga that gives Luciana her opportunity for a quick score. The high energy duo leave their embarrassing job of restaurant promotion while dressed up like chickens – hardly worthy of such women that should be hearing the noise of clicking cameras instead of making the noises of clucking chickens. After ditching her second job onto another, Luciana rushes to this party where she is only supposed to hang around for a couple of hours. Bouncing from one location to the next, Luciana finally arrives at “the party” where she is one of nine beautiful women, all from different nationalities. These women are called one-by-one and led to a secretive room where only loud screams are heard.

The film moves from the wide open, privileged neighborhoods to the cramped inner city to an isolated warehouse providing a smothering feeling of constriction like a sinister anaconda squeezing its naïve prey.  Noah Greenberg’s use of color and shadows creates an elevated sense of anxiety as the film progresses with the bright afternoon of the outside contrasted with the pitch black shadowy warehouse in the last act.

The less you know about Most Beautiful Island the better. Just know that this SXSW Film Festival Grand Jury Award Winner for Narrative Feature is highly-deserving and is the epitome of why people go to this festival and others like it. I cannot wait to see what else is to come from Ms. Asensio. 

In Most Beautiful Island, Luciana - played by writer and director Ana Asensio - is an undocumented woman living in New York City. Times are hard. She has multiple jobs and she’s not very good at any of them. When her friend presents an opportunity to make a lot of money…

Hollywood Outsider Review Score

Performances - 8
Story - 6
Production - 7

7

Most Beautiful Island was one of the highlights of the SXSW Festival, and announces a new talent in Ana Asensio.

Most Beautiful Island was originally screened at the SXSW Film Festival
Starring Ana Asensio, Natasha Romanova, David Little
Written by Ana Asensio
Directed by Ana Asensio

About Brian Williams

My interest in movies started as a kid during the explosion of iconic movies being released in the 70’s. The 80’s only nurtured that love, followed by the 90’s which saw my interest really kick off with the likes of Shawshank Redemption, Goodfellas, and anything Quentin Tarantino touched. Somewhere along the line, I’ve acquired a love for the classics such as Casablanca and foreign films like Yojimbo and Das Boot. Having worked in the U.S. Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, I acquired a monster movie collection as I would buy movies to take underway to have something to watch. This led to me being the ‘go to guy’ for anything cinema within my circle of friends and family. This opportunity to record my ramblings about movies is a pleasure and I am humbled that you take time out of your day to listen to our silly opinions. Brian@TheHollywoodOutsider.com