Familia Review – A compelling and realistic slice-of-life drama

By Lori Meek
Published: December 16, 2023
Familia Review
Familia | Image via Netflix


The movie is a touching slice-of-life drama with endearing but highly flawed characters who ultimately love and respect each other. Families are complicated, and the one presented on screen is no different.

While he’s known for his work on compelling dramas such as Four Good Days and Mother and Child, Rodrigo Garcia’s Familia marks the Colombian-Mexican director’s first Spanish-language feature. Streaming on Netflix, the movie is a slice-of-life-type drama where a family comes together for lunch and deep conversations about their past, present, and future on their beloved olive ranch. 

As the group tries to decide the ranch’s fate, the complexities of their relationships are unearthed. Featuring an ensemble cast including  Daniel Giménez-Cacho, Ricardo Selmen, Natalia Solián, Maribel Verdú, and Cassandra Ciangherotti, the film offers a refreshingly honest look at family dynamics in a picturesque setting. 

Familia review and plot summary

Familia opens with patriarch Leo (Daniel Giménez-Cacho) seeing the ghost of his dearly departed wife and three daughters playing in the living room. Leo’s late wife was a renowned writer who passed away after a freak accident several years prior. 

The following day, Leo’s family gathers at his olive ranch for a meal, during which they need to agree on a decision that could change their lives for good. 

In attendance for the family event are Leo’s new girlfriend, Clara, his three daughters, and Benny, his son who is still living at home due to having special needs. 

The oldest sister is Rebbecca, she’s a successful doctor, married to Dan (lovingly referred to as the Gringo by the rest of the family because he’s American), and they have twin teenagers, Alan and Erika. 

Middle child, Julia, is on the verge of divorce because because she can’t stop herself from constantly cheating on her husband. She arrives at the Olive Ranch with her daughter, Amanda, and plans on spending a few days away from her husband, who once again caught her straying. 

All parents have favorite children, even if most of them won’t admit to it. Leo’s pride and joy is his youngest daughter, Mariana, who invited her new girlfriend Monica to the family lunch. Mariana is also pregnant but refuses to tell anyone who the father is. 

While the family meets every 3-4 months for these gatherings, Leo called this specific meeting early. He’s got some news he wants to run by daughters – A corporation gave Leo a generous offer to sell his ranch, but he wants his children’s approval to go ahead with the sale. 

The idea of letting go of their childhood home and the property that’s been in their families for generations is daunting for the sisters. However, all three of them left home and pursued careers away from the family business, while Leo has grown old and tired of the constant hard work.  

Most of Familia takes place over one day when this group of dysfunctional people come together for a meal. There’s conflict, drama, tears, and shouting, but at the end of the day, Rodrigo García shows his audience a family with members who truly care about each other. 

Why Familia is worth streaming on Netflix

It does help that the performances are excellent, especially Daniel Giménez-Cacho, who stands out in his portrayal of the widowed patriarch. 

While Familia isn’t exactly a Christmas film, it does capture the stressful intricacies many people have to deal with during the holidays and any other such functions where relatives have to sit with each other at the same table. It offers a realistic and heartwarming portrayal of complex family dynamics. 

What did you think of Familia? Comment below.

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