The odds were stacked against Ramón (Manuel Lozano) from the start. He was always an outsider, and to keep himself sane, he lived by a strict mantra: Don’t Fight, Don’t Snitch and Don’t Cry.
When his family settles in Seville, Ramón becomes victim to the attention of the school’s most notorious crowd. As the death of dictator Franco sends shockwaves throughout Spain, the hairline cracks of rebellion and independence begin to appear.
A budding romance, a covert Religion teacher and a mythical Native Indian all collide in Ramón’s world as he ultimately learns that one of the most important and enduring things in life is true friendship.
Theme of adolescence and coming of age in difficult times is well known in world cinema and from first look it seems that “You’re my hero” adds nothing new to old formula. However, with first shots and scenes of the movie it’s easy to realize that you get much more than you bargained for.
Incredibly bright and sincere story of a boy on verge of adolescence never leave you indifferent, his discoveries and joys, disappointments and grief give you chance to endure with our hero all his emotions and struggles. The audience easily becomes a part of the story of Ramon and a part of his little triumphs and tragedies. Sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter storytelling never lets you down and immensely attracts you but at the same time the world around the characters is changing. Spain struggles for freedom and democracy and echo of events in the country eventually reaches the boys.
It is mid 70s and the last days of oppressive regime Franco. More and more people went to streets, demanding changes and all that they were deprived during long years. But for 13 years old Ramon it’s time for moving to new place and new school and he already know that it always promises nothing good for him. Sunny Seville becomes a new episode of his life and another test for three main rules, which helped him to survive in all years of traveling from one place to another. Every school and every street had its bullies and a new kid was always bound to be their first victim.
The first rule: don’t fight it just making everything worse and they will beat you up, the second rule don’t snitch – they will never forgive you and the third rule – don’t cry that is all what they always want from you. The battle for survival has begun from the first day in new school and playful question of principal about Ramon’s favorite football team. After some attacks from classmates the first rule is broken and everything changes but surprisingly help came from outside.
Franco dies and it leads to no punishment and an unexpected vacation brings new possibilities for Ramon to look at the world around him with new eyes. What is more unexpected that after his attempt of standing for himself former bullies begin to talk to him and even gradually accept him into their close company. No more trying to be invisible and new friends give a chance for awakening of new feelings and emotions. After watching smuggled “Playboys” and rather dirty jokes soon come first kisses and first love while the country is also changing. For many years everything about political and sexual freedoms was suppressed by civil and religious authorities and it is time to challenge them. People come to fight for their rights and at the same time new words are coming into world of boys, already filled with emotions, feelings and tensions: “freedom” and “fascism”, “free election”, “civil rights” and “amnesty”.
It is so much important that rising of the country and those who care for its future is not just a background for the main story of Ramon and his mates. Director Ramon Cuadri and the actors so skillfully and authentically transmitted that atmosphere of social struggling that the country itself and all those people become important characters in the movie. As you always feel strong sympathy for poignant and sincere Manuel Lozano as Ramon you are also starting to care about people fighting for what is right or for school teacher who is challenging the whole system. Such a strong emotional uplifting for the audience is in my opinion one of the greatest possible achievement for filmmakers and the actors. Bright young Spanish talent Manuel Lozano is absolutely terrific here, he successfully conveys to us all strong emotions and feelings of main character without any sighs of uncertainty or overacting. His incredible and mature performance marks him as one of the most talented young actors nowadays and I definitely would like to see more movies with him. Although standout Manuel Lozano is mostly stealing the show, the other main characters also have their moments of glory, particularly the leader of the boys David (also an excellent performance of young Felix Lopes) and school teacher Mateo (Toni Canto). Both of them did incredibly well in some quite important and poignant scenes. It is worth to mention also that despite very harsh language the movie is absolutely suitable for young viewers, in many ways it is even intended for teen audience, probably accompanied by adults. It doesn’t look crude or repulsive; it’s just intimate and poignant in tradition of famous “Stand by Me” and other masterpieces about childhood and adolescence experience. Well written and rather appropriate soundtrack with a couple of songs is a good addition to strong visual part.
Here the first steps to adult life mean not only awakening of new strong feelings and losing of childhood innocence. It also brings rediscovery of political freedom and its meaning and sort of soft sexual revolution in society. Adulthood brings new discoveries and disappointments, triumphs and letdowns but these bitter and sweet memories of adolescence stay with you forever.
You’re my hero (Eres mi heroe) is a very strong and poignant story of adolescence in time of changes and definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen in last months. It’s not perfect and perhaps if you make this as a goal you could find some minor drawbacks but I simply couldn’t resist because my emotions during the movie were so immensely strong. When the credits were rolling all that I could do was to cheer and applaud.
Congratulations to anyone involved and highly recommended.
Director: Antonio Cuadri
Writers: Carlos Asorey, Antonio Cuadri
Stars: Manuel Lozano, Toni Cantó, Félix López
Release Date: 30 May 2003 (Spain)
Also Known As: You Are My Hero
Filming Locations: Sevilla, Andalucía, Spain
Format : Matroska
Format version : Version 4
File size : 5.63 GiB
Duration : 1 h 38 min
Overall bit rate : 8 197 kb/s