Netflixable? Teen pregnancy in Argentina makes a girl “Invisible”

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It’s a bit maddening, but I guess that’s how a movie about abortion should be — shout at the screen infuriating.

“Invisible” is a patient, quiet drama about a pregnant teenager in a country where abortion is illegal, but the Internet is not — Argentina.

So when Ely (Mora Arenillas) has one backseat sexual fling too many with a veterinarian she works for, part time, she’s got a pal to stand by her in their high school restroom, reading her smart phone.

It’s all there, what medication you need “in countries where abortion is illegal,” what strategy to use to procure them, lies to tell, getting “a man to pick up the medication.” black market suggestions and warnings.

Because that’s what the world is like for a woman in patriarchy where the Catholic Church controls basic human rights usually protected by government.

Ely is 17, close-mouthed and a bit of a longer, just another bored high school kid with unruly hair and a nose ring. And now there’s a fetus to be considered.

Hers isn’t the happiest life. Her mother (Mara Bestelli) is housebound, overwhelmed by depression. The father of the fetus (Diego Cremonesi) isn’t exactly somebody she can talk to, either. His dad, the veterinarian who owns the practice, seems kind. But no.

When she first visits a government clinic, the unseen counselor/nurse gives her the bum’s rush, pushing the frightened girl into scheduling an ultrasound, OB-GYN visits…

“I’m not going to have it,” is an assertion this nurse is prepared for

“Think it over. Talk with your parents. The father… Abortion is illegal in Argentina.”

So?

“Your only choice is to put the child up for adoption,” she adds (in Spanish with English subtitles) before suggesting a psychologist.

Ely isn’t telling anyone about this — not her bother, who has become a burden, or Raul the veterinarian who got her pregnant. Like girls the world over, she turns to a peer.

I apologize for not naming the sympathetic actress who plays that sounding board/classmate, but director Pablo Giorgelli, who co-wrote the script, never has anyone address her by name and doesn’t even seem to have her in the credits. Every other actress listed seems entirely too old.

If you know who the redhead is to Ely’s left, or you’re the forgetful Pablo Giorgelli and know she is, feel free to comment below. I’ve been doing this for decades and never come across a lapse in a film’s credits this boneheaded, one I couldn’t get an answer to.

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We follow Ely, poker-faced but forlorn, lost in her thoughts, struggling to make a decision she’s ill-equipped to handle.

Sad and maybe a little in shock, she tunes out her classes, but we never see her weep. Ely hides her dismay, if not her despair.

An adoption agency offers to pay her for the chance to place her offspring with a paying family. She tries to power through it, a little denial (clubbing, a bar pick up), a little unload on mom time.

And then the shouting at the screen starts.

Arenillas so underplays Ely that she’s hard to get a handle on, even if our instinct is to sympathize with her plight. She is “Invisible” and a movie about someone invisible is sure to test one’s patience.

Giorgelli shoots for something less conclusive, more vague. The larger object is here showing the Byzantine steps a single woman in a country where women’s rights are circumscribed in the most basic sense.

Because Ely has nobody giving her life advice that works, no one she can rely on to transcend sexism, religious propaganda and tell her what she needs to know before deciding yea or nay on this pregnancy.

Aside from that one friend, whom Giorgelli neglects to name on screen or in the credits.

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MPAA Rating: unrated, explicit sex, nudity, adult content

Cast: Mora Arenillas, Diego Cremonesi, Mara Bestelli

Credits:Directed by Pablo Giorgelli, script by María Laura Gargarella, Pablo Giorgelli. A FilmFactory release.

Running time: 1:27

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