Santitos (1997) from Tuna

Santitos (1997) is a wonderful Mexican comedy about faith and healing starring Dolores Heredia. She plays a widow who, together with her oldest and dearest friend, has raised her adolescent daughter. One day the teenager goes in to the hospital for a routine tonsillectomy and dies of a mysterious virus. One of Heredia's little plaster saints (santitos), St, Jude, speaks to her from the glass door of her oven, and tells her the daughter isn't dead. When the hospital won't open the casket (for fear of infection), and the doctor is missing, she decides her daughter must have been kidnapped and sold into prostitution. Although she is a devout Catholic, she feels God has given her a mission, and she sets out to infiltrate whorehouses and find her daughter. The hunt leads her all the way To Tijuana and Los Angeles.


Heredia shows her breasts twice, first in a sex scene, and later in the bath.

not yet on Region 1 DVD

Along the way, there is much room for humor, and I laughed out loud time after time.  This is one of those sleepers that is a pure delight for those who enjoy this sort of film. The set decoration and the shooting locations were the sort of colorful Mexicana that I really enjoy, and I couldn't help but love Heredia's character. The film garnered numerous awards and nominations, mostly for writing and for Heredia's performance. It is one I will rewatch.

Scoop's note:

Code red chick-flick alert. IMDb scores: Men 6.8, Women 8.4. (Best comparison: Like Water for Chocolate. Women 8.2, Men 7.0, also from a Mexican director.)

The 1.6 difference between male and female scores is greater than Beaches (1.4), Steel Magnolias (1.2), or Ya-Ya Sisterhood (1.2), but less than Dirty Dancing (1.9).

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • It grossed about half a million dollars in the USA, on a maximum of 95 screens.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C+. Top-notch foreign-language comedy, especially popular with women.

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