Screened for Central Florida critics a full 17 months ago, this foreign-language charmer wins our award for the longest-ever lag between a peekaboo sighting and legitimate play. The delay has worked to the movie's detriment in one respect: After Good Bye Lenin!, it's tougher to get excited at seeing another kid who wants to be an astronaut dealing with the heartbreak of an absentee dad (and tending to a sickly maternal figure, no less). Unfortunate comparisons aside, though, title tyke Valentin a precocious Argentinean third-grader is still an engaging character, a cross-eyed dreamer being raised by his grandmother and pining for his vanished mother. Searching for a suitable surrogate mama in his asshole father's unending parade of "serious" girlfriends, the kid learns some overdue lessons about love and family. If that doesn't seem like a big deal post-Lenin, remember: That movie had the decline of an entire political empire to play around with. But writer/director Alejandro Agresti proves adept at reminding us that everybody's heart is a nation-state unto itself.
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