"All of a sudden you turned into a Snow White."
Corazon de Leon, which translated in english means Heart of a Lion, is a very funny romantic comedy that also delivers an important message about social prejudice. Yes, it is formulaic and is full of cliches, but at the same time it has a lot of heart and works thanks to two great performances from Guillermo Francella and Julieta Diaz. Francella had a memorable role in the Oscar winning The Secret in Their Eyes, and once again he stands out in this comedy. Julieta Diaz, however had an even more difficult role because she was the conflicted character who had to walk a fine line between remaining likable to the audience while at the same time struggling with her inner self and getting past any prejudice she could have. It would've been very easy to dislike a character like this, but Julieta Diaz handles it with grace and somehow she remains a likable character and shares an excellent chemistry with Francella. The theme of social prejudice has been handled before in many films, but I don't know if it has been done better than in this film. Between all the laughs and funny moments there are also some very serious and touching moments dealing with this inner conflict of accepting someone for who they are on the inside. The Farrelly brothers dealt with it in Shallow Hal, but without the same effect that Corazon de Leon has. This time the social prejudice has to do with height, since Diaz's character falls for a man who is only 4 and a half feet tall. Behind all the laughs and funny gags there is a serious underlying tone about how ridiculous our social norms are. This prejudice exists and is very alive in all of us, despite us not realizing it. The film works not only in making the audience laugh but in making us think about the ridiculous standards we have made up as a society in what we consider as normal.
Ivana Cornejo (Julieta Diaz) is a lawyer who shares a law firm with her associate Diego (Mauricio Dayub) who also happened to be her ex husband. They've been separated for the last 3 years. One night she receives a phone call from a man named Leon (Guillermo Francella) who has found her lost cell phone (which she actually tossed in a park after a heated discussion with her ex over the phone) and is offering to return it to her. The two have a very interesting conversation considering Leon has a great personality and is very charming. The two agree to meet each other the next day and when they do, Ivana is surprised to see that Leon is actually a dwarf. Her shock is apparent and Leon understand, but somehow he convinces her to go on a date with her. What Leon lacks in height, he has in personality. He seems to be the perfect man, and Ivana loves being around him, but she also feels conflicted because of the way people look at them in public. As they begin to grow closer and closer, she also realizes she has some prejudice towards him as she tries to keep him away from her circle of friends. This conflict is the heart of the story since the two seem to be perfect for each other, the problem being trying to overcome her prejudice.
If it weren't for all the cliches in this film, this could've been much better, but I still think it stands out as a fun comedy from Argentina. I would definitely recommend this for the great performances and sincere direction from Marcos Carnevale who wasn't afraid to get dramatic and serious when he had to. In that sense it works much better than other comedies that try to send a positive message about social prejudice. The screenplay worked well with very strong characters and a good supporting cast including Guillermo Francella's son, Nicolas playing the same role in the film, Jorgelina Aruzzi playing Ivana's secretary, and Nora Carpena playing her mother. I was laughing out loud during several scenes in this film, and despite knowing where the film was heading I still had a fun time. One may argue that Francella's character was one dimensional in the sense that he didn't have any flaws and was perfect, but I think it was necessary in a film like this focusing on the prejudice we have towards others only based on their physical appearance. The conflict was basically based on this issue, because everything else about this person was flawless.