Che Sandoval’s underwhelming character study finds sensuality but not satisfaction in a mildly tedious effort.
There’s something to be said for a character study that reflects its protagonist quite as much as Che Sandoval’s Dry Martina. The only problem is that the film, which follows a fading child pop star as she, in turn, follows a man from Argentina to Chile in search of her lost libido, reflects all the worst qualities of its subject. Full of aimlessness and inconsistency, it’s an unengaging affair that snuck into the Netflix thumbnails today without much fuss and will likely remain there without much examination.
The idea of a child star having long-since lost their luster is not a new one, but rarely have avatars of those receding glory days been quite as petulant about the matter as Martina (Antonella Costa). She longs for the success she no longer gets to enjoy, and for the kind of romantic encounters she once indulged in, and to emerge from a shadow left by a mother (also a singer) and a comatose father.
The arrival of Fran (Geraldine Neary), apparently a long-lost sister, reinvigorates Martina, though mostly because Fran’s boyfriend, César (Pedro Campos), is apparently worth following from Argentina to Chile in the hopes that he’ll reignite whatever sexual spark inside Martina was snuffed out by age and normality. It’s hardly a compelling or worthwhile setup, not even when Dry Martina turns its focus to family in the wake of romantic disappointment.
That’s mostly because all the film’s messages — from sexual freedom to female self-esteem and self-worth to finding family wherever you can — are mixed; fitting, I suppose, for a story about a former celebrity who got everything she wanted before she had time to learn what she needed. But that accidental or perhaps intentional correlation never amounts to much, least of all a compelling film. It’s an erratic affair that feels somewhat desperate in all its efforts, and if Martina is in search of renewed success, she’s unlikely to find it here.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.