Review: Chico and Rita

Best Animated Feature Oscar Nomination proves to be simplistic but also charming.

Chico & Rita follows a young but extremely talented piano player in Havana who falls in love with a singer with big dreams. When Chico’s agent Ramon tries to get Rita to perform with him, things get complicated and fate seems destined to keep them apart. The story takes the characters from the alleys of Havana, the streets of Paris to the glamour of Las Vegas.

At first I wasn’t sure about the animation style; I initially believed it had been rota-scoped, but upon investigation that isn’t the case. The style certainly grows on you, especially after an exciting car chase in the first act. It should also be mentioned that Rita herself must go on the list of sexiest animated women.
The animation is quite adult orientated, not just with the occasional nudity but in its mellow pacing. I can’t say I felt as moved as I maybe should have been; Chico and Rita’s relationship yo-yo’s frequently and I couldn’t quite see them together.

But the best part of Chico & Rita has to be the soundtrack, set in 1948 Cuba the music is bebop, a style of jazz, and it makes all of the characters and animation style come to life. I might be seeing the obvious similarities to Japanese anime’s Cowboy Bebop (a personal favourite) but the music here is excellent.

It might not be as memorable as it should be, mostly because it’s a simple story, I just enjoyed the soundtrack.


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