Abandoned by his mother and with an errant father who makes only occasional appearances, eight year-old Valentin (Noya) lives in Buenos Aires with his grandmother and, despite his very poor eyesight, dreams of escaping her complaints to become an astronaut.
Recently, it has become a prerequisite of childrens films that they contain titbits to keep the accompanying grown-ups happy. However, Valentin takes this idea one step further by being a childrens film with arguably more for adults
than for the little ones.
Yes, on the surface it appears to be a film about a cute-looking kid in specs with an impossible dream. And, indeed, in Hollywood the lead would have been played by Jonathan Lipnicki and the film probably would have ended with him blasting off into the stratosphere. But this is not a Hollywood film, so it takes bigger risks by focusing on Valentin as a child who is forced to take on the responsibilities of an adult and enter a universe more dangerous than space namely the baffling world of human relationships.
An older Valentin narrates the film, allowing a delicate balance of childhood innocence and wisdom that delivers charm as well as food for thought for the older viewer. While director Agrestis script is very well pitched, it is young Rodrigo Noya who is the real star, giving a performance of incredible depth and complexity that belies his meagre years.
The oldest eight year-old in the world gives us a philosophical, bittersweet perspective on childhood and love that is so much more than just cutesy kiddie fluff.