We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — Isabel Allende is a Latina icon. So you can imagine how excited we were to hear that HBO picked up a three-part mini-series dramatizing her life. We couldn’t wait to watch it. And. more importantly, read all the Latina-authored commentary, the reviews, the interviews, the discussions.
Shocker again — mainstream media disappointed us. Coverage has been scant. The show doesn’t even have enough reviews for a Rotten Tomatoes score yet! Yet, we love the author’s interview with EW’s Rosy Cordero, among others. We’re excited for #WeAllGrow Latina’s tertulia on the show. But we want SO much more. We want a dozen reviews, interviews with star Daniela Ramírez, discussions among Allende scholars. And while we keep hoping those are coming, here are three Latina-authored reviews of Isabel to hold us all over:
Author Ines Bellina reviewed Isabel for the A.V. Club, giving it a B and noting its ability to inspire while also naming some of its weaknesses. Walking this line, she writes things like “A biopic series about Chilean author Isabel Allende might sound like an easy sell to a U.S. audience” and “this three-part limited series attempts to take Allende seriously, as a woman, a writer, and defender of democracy.” and “Daniela Ramírez, who plays the title role, embodies the author with total ease, tragic wig choices notwithstanding” (Allende’s real hair WAS bad). Read her full review.
For BoldLatina, Sofía Félix Poggi has the primer you need to get started with screening info, the author’s bio, a list of her books, and more. Ze writes, “HBO Max’s Pa’lante project presents Isabel, a three-part mini-series that tells the life story of magical realist writer Isabel Allende: her struggles with sexism, political conflicts, motherhood, and grief. A representative of the Latin America magical realism, writer Isabel Allende has a life story that is as rich and compelling as her own fiction tales… The series definitely leaves room for a continuation, since almost 3 decades of Allende’s biography are not covered in this narration.” Read her full coverage.
Our Cristina Escobar is doing her part, noting how the show affirms Latinas (and Latina writers) for Roger Ebert. She writes, “In the end, the miniseries makes Isabel Allende feel both exceptional and relatable, her story tragic and triumphant. Like her writing, Isabel is personal and political, mixing the two to tell the story of a whole human being who faces a harsh world bravely but imperfectly. The result is inspirational, a reminder of the challenges Latinas continue to face and also a pathway to transcending them.” Read her full review.