MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
The Mole Agent - On Blu-Ray and DVD; Streaming on Hulu and Hoopla; Rental from Prime Video, Google Play, VUDU, Apple TV, Microsoft, Fandango Now, You Tube ($3.99)
Not Rated (I would rate it PG)
Directed by Maite Alberdi
Documentary, in Spanish with subtitles
Both the poster and the trailer for The Mole Agent promise the viewer a wacky and subversive twist on the spy thriller. In this case the undercover agent is Sergio, an 83-year-old man from Chile who answers a classified ad from a detective agency looking for an older person who is also good with technology. Recently widowed, Sergio thinks that this might be something interesting to do. He gets the job, which will require him to live in a retirement home for three months to investigate the conditions for a client who wants to see how her mother is being treated. He is given a spy pen and a pair of glasses with a built-in camera. He is to write regular reports on what he observes.
Sergio has to first identify the woman he is being asked to observe. (“All the ladies look the same to me.”) Once he is accepted as a new resident he gets to work, inspecting the facilities and sneaking into rooms as often as he is able. He won’t be able to stay undercover for long, since there are 40 women and just 4 men living in the home. A couple of women set their sights on Sergio (one of them even starts plucking flower petals to determine the level of his affection).
Nothing quite proceeds as expected. Things slow down and the initial investigative assignment is set aside as Sergio spends more time listening and less time filing reports. The Mole Agent becomes a fable about how just one person doing small acts of mercy can do a world of good by demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)
There is every reason to believe that the whole spy business is a bit of a con; just a Trojan horse to place Sergio to interaction with the residents and staff of a retirement home. Whatever works.
The current pandemic initially separated family and friends from seeing loved ones in hospitals, retirement communities, and nursing homes. As we move toward a time in the near future – vaccinated and protected – when such visits are no longer restricted, let’s remember that we do not need any convoluted reason to show up and spend time with people we love.
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
Five halos: Like a good spy, this charming film sneaks up on you with some poignant and thoughtful things to say about ageing, loneliness, and the need for human connection.
One pitchfork: For various kinds of neglect, including housekeeping and visitation.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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