I was skeptical about this film when I first heard about it. I thought the plot would be predictable; I bet on an enemies-to-lovers tale where our Latinidad was humored instead of valued. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised and moved by this film. Hulu’s The Valet has a little bit of everything—gentrification, family dynamics, love and heartbreak, friendship, grief, and relatable Latinx humor. Woven together, these moments are balanced, yet unexpected.
A-list Actors & Valets
When an A-list actress gets caught in a taboo affair, a typical Hollywood publicity cover-up becomes an opportunity for a hardworking valet to spend some time in the spotlight and get a taste of life on the other side of the key stand. Our beloved main character, Antonio Flores (played by Eugenio Derbez) is the most wholesome guy who is just trying to win his wife back. Gaining confidence throughout this new friendship with A-list actress, Olivia Allen (played by Samara Weaving), the two teach each other about friendship and what they really deserve in life.
I have been a fan of Derbez’s comedic roles since La Familia Peluche (todavía no soy niña normal) and loved how natural and relatable his character Antonio felt. Derbez has been one of the Mexican actors breaking the cinematic barrier in the States – his characters tend to mirror the immigrant identity we can all relate to. Unfortunately, he’s anti-vax so you won’t find me interviewing him about his career, but The Valet reminded me of one of his earlier films, Instructions Not Included, where the humor hits just right and the moments of heartfelt grief come out of nowhere.
La Familia y Comunidad
This film sneaks in relatable moments. Whether it’s the one-liner from a third-generation Korean kid sitting on the couch, telling her grandfather that she doesn’t understand Spanish or Korean, or the elaborate Sunday breakfast scene where actress Oliva Allen stumbles into the Flores’ household, asking what the occasion is for such a feast—the little moments of generational growth and culture create an evolved plot that makes room for everyone at the table. One of my favorite lines in the film is when Antonio tells Oliva that there’s no word for boundaries in Spanish. In that moment, we see Antonio accept his family and Olivia learn what it means to be loved.
There are a few casting treasures in this film. I’ve been on a New Girl comfort rewatch recently and was pleasantly surprised to see Max Greenfield again. We even get a Gentefied nugget with Carlos Santos, which made me want to rewatch Gentefied again (#RIPGentefied). Speaking of gentrification, the plot weaves this into the film but it’s blended nicely, as a way to keep the audience grounded in how most people live, even (or especially) when you live next to the red carpet premieres of Los Angeles.
Mija, You Deserve It
One of the biggest lessons in this film was Antonio’s inability to receive. As someone who has been working on allowing a boomerang of abundance, it was so relatable to see a hard-working character finally allow themselves to deserve something. Many of us were programmed at a very young age to give things one hundred and ten percent, always more. In order to earn something, you have to work hard. Constantly echando ganas. Hustle.
Most of the time, like Antonio, we are programmed to say no, I can’t accept that—I don’t deserve it. A broken record subconsciously repeated by…you guessed it: generational trauma. If you take anything from this film, I’d say it’s a life lesson of allowing yourself to be worthy and getting out of the mindset that you don’t deserve something you’ve worked hard for; especially if that check is more than what you asked for. Learn from Antonio, take the money!
If you’re looking for something to remind you of your worth, sprinkle little details about what makes us who we are, and layers humor with love, let The Valet surprise you for your next movie night.