‘Half Brothers’ Review: A Good Balance of Drama & Comedy for the Holidays

It’s nothing new to see genres in cinema blending together, with the most notable going to “Rom-Coms” (Romantic Comedies). “Dramedies” or Dramatic Comedies, are typically light, but uplifting movies. They’re both funny and dramatic but, not too much of either. A good example is the new film Half Brothers from director Luke Greenfield.

In this we find Renato (Luis Gerardo Méndez), a successful Mexican aviation executive, shocked to discover he has an American half-brother named Asher (Connor Del Rio). The two half-brothers, who are opposites in every possible way, find themselves on a scavenger hunt for the ages to discover the truth about their pasts.

While both were exposed to their father Flavio (Juan Pablo Espinosa) early in life, the two had very different experiences. Renato and Flavio were extremely close. They did everything together from making planes, watching TV, and exploring the world around them. On the other hand, Asher was on the receiving end of distant parenting as the rowdy, pal-around attitude used with Renato, worked to no avail with. He was more of a goofball that did his own thing away from sports or any of the typical things that boys are supposed to do.

Juan Pablo Espinosa (left) stars as “Flavio” and Ian Inigo (right) stars as “young Renato” in director Luke Greenfield’s HALF BROTHERS, a Focus Features release. Credit : John Golden Britt / Focus Features

Juan Pablo Espinosa shines as Flavio and Ian Inigo impressed as a young Renato in the film. You could really feel that closeness between father and son through their chemistry. With a choice soundtrack to supplement, Half Brothers was bringing all the feels.

Since the story takes place in both Mexico and the U.S., you’ll find subtitles throughout the movie. Renato would grow up to be a successful businessman in Mexico and grew to despise the U.S. because of his father’s absence. Oddly enough, he became fluent in English even though he had no desire to go to, or, do business with America.

Renato is a prime example of what can happen if a child’s life-balance is disturbed. Renato was extremely close with his father and they were together constantly. His father’s presence was the bedrock on which his happiness existed. He was the fulcrum that kept everything level and balanced. So once Flavio was taken out of the equation when he went to the States in search of work, Renato’s entire world was thrown out of balance. That’s the drama.

Luis Gerardo Mendez (left) stars as “Renato” and Connor Del Rio (right) stars as “Asher” in director Luke Greenfield’s HALF BROTHERS, a Focus Features release. Credit : John Golden Britt / Focus Features

The comedy comes into play when Renato and Asher come together. Asher is extremely clumsy, silly, and full of energy, while Renato is impatient, short-tempered, and has a negative outlook on life. Asher made countless gestures of conciliation but Renato wasn’t having it. But over time, the two men find a goat, commonality, and the pathway to solving Flavio’s ultimate riddle.

I give Half Brothers an 8 out of 10. There’s enough comedy that the sour father-son relationship doesn’t overtake the film. Loss and heartbreak are constant but so are bad jokes and hilarious accidents. This is a film you can look forward to enjoying in theaters Friday, December 4, 2020.

-Jon J.

Photos: Courtesy of Focus Features

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