Movie Review: Argentine and in need of an abortion — “Noemi Gold”

Noemí is out of sorts when we meet her. She confides in her mouthy, free-spirit friend Rosa, worried about what’s going on “with my body” after “the pills (in Spanish, with English subtitles).”

There it is. She’s pregnant, unsure of what issues are going on, why the abortion pills didn’t work.

And in Argentina, a woman’s got to be careful which clinic she goes to for answers. It’s illegal. The “Vatican” one she shows up in, by accident, is pretty quick to call somebody in uniform when the nurse figures out what she’s done.

But that’s not what “Noemí Gold” is about. Dan Rubenstein’s light-touch Argentine drama is a moody amble through Noemi’s psyche, her predicament and the life that goes on around it.

Catalina Berarducci is Noemí Goldberg, 27 and with a freshly-printed MA in architecture, living la vida tranquila in Buenos Aires. Rosa (Martina Juncadella) is her faintly-annoying but hip friend, living with her, slipping out for girl boxing, not necessarily giving her the best advice.

Rosa, we gather, got the name of the clinic wrong. But as she atones for that by helping Noemí make a Plan B (abortions are legal), there’s all this other stuff going on to distract Rosa from her predicament. Still, having tactless, indiscreet friends and a faithless lover doesn’t help.

An aloof “influencer” cousin — David — has flown in to stay with her and promote whatever products he’s supposed to plug as he posts whatever they’re doing wherever they’re doing it. He’s glued to his screen constantly, even when they go canoeing or visit their grandmother.

The guy who got Noemí pregnant is a rich brat, and an artist. Tacho’s “ghosted” her, so there’s nothing for it but to confront him at a performance art opening the women know he’s hosting. He denies being responsible, and rudely. But Rosa insists they stick around and wear him down. Rosa takes a stab at karaoke in a bar they all go to, changing the lyrics to Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” seems to get Tacho’s attention.

And then there’s Sol (Amelia Repetto), the neighbor/pal who likes her wine, her weed, and flirting with/debating American Mormon missionaries.

Through it all, Berarducci plays Noemí as puzzled and worried, but rarely letting her annoyance show and never letting anybody see her rattled.

Writer-director Rubenstein taps into a languorous Argentine vibe and never lets go of it. “Noemí Gold” limits its characters to the interpersonal relationships and lives. The “influencer” is the only one to have what you’d call a job. Everybody else just indulges in hobbies (boxing), dreams (art) and each other’s personal business. Relatives are paying the bills?

Not a lot happens, but on an intimate level, it does. Conflicts are rare, “problems” are mulled, glossed-over and solved without a lot of effort and even the people other people don’t get along with seem to get along, more or less.

Rubenstein’s character study suggests that it’s not all that great being “Noemí Gold” at 27. But all things considered, it’s not all that bad either.

MPA Rating: unrated, adult subject matter, drinking and drugs

Cast: Catalina Berarducci, Martina Juncadella, Amelia Repetto

Credits: Scripted and directed by Dan Rubenstein. A Topic streaming release.

Running time: 1:21

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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