Movie review: The Mole Agent

From Chile

Mole AgentThe Mole Agent is a film that was nominated for Best Documentary Feature in the most recent Oscar season. It lost to My Octopus Teacher, which I have not seen. Regardless, I found it a charming movie.

“A private investigator in Chile hires someone to work as a mole at a retirement home where a client of his suspects the caretakers of elder abuse.” One of the respondents is Sergio Chamy. He is one of a half dozen men responding to a newspaper ad looking for a healthy 80-89-year-old in fine health and with good technological skills.

It appears that NONE of the candidates are particularly tech-savvy. The job requires the spy to operate a pen that has a mini-camera, wear glasses with a camera inside, and use an iPhone. None of these are in his initial skill set.

Nevertheless, Romulo hires Sergio anyway. The mole, a recent widower, is one of only a small number of men in the retirement home; the women outnumber them by about ten to one. He attracts considerable attention from some of the female residents.

Reviews well

I suppose the movie, especially the beginning is “contrived and cutesy,” as one critic noted. Yet, more true, “Sounds depressing. Its big reveal was that it was often the exact opposite. Sweet, charming, and poignant, it was a meditation on growing old, loneliness and making a life when confined in an institution.”

That said, “the ‘documentary’ nature of this hybrid is very much in question. The filmmakers acknowledged at the Sundance Film Festival, that the lead protagonist was cast by them and that scenes were invented.” I don’t think it diminishes what’s on the screen.

The Mole Agent is in Spanish with subtitles. I saw it on Hulu when I forgot to cancel it after my free trial.