Watch Elena

  • 2014
  • 1 hr 22 min
  • 7.5  (2,033)
  • 81

Elena is an emotionally stirring documentary that revolves around the life of Elena Andrade, a young Brazilian girl who moves to New York City to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress. The film, directed by Petra Costa, is a heartfelt exploration of identity, family relationships, and the immigrant experience. The documentary opens with a series of grainy home videos that show Elena and her younger sister, Petra, growing up in Brazil. Through these recordings, we get a glimpse into the sisters' playful and loving relationship, as well as their family's struggles with poverty and hardship. In one poignant scene, Elena's mother compares her daughters to flowers, saying that they need to grow strong in order to survive.

As Elena gets older, she becomes increasingly focused on her desire to become an actress. She feels stifled by her life in Brazil, where opportunities for success are limited. Eventually, Elena moves to New York City to attend film school and pursue her dreams. Through voiceover narration and interviews with her family members, we learn that Elena's passion was all-consuming, and that she threw herself into her work with boundless energy and drive.

The film then shifts into a meditation on grief, as we learn that Elena died at the age of 20, before she was able to achieve her artistic dreams. The remainder of the documentary is an exploration of Petra's attempt to come to terms with her sister's death, and to understand the complex relationship that they shared.

Through interviews with family members and footage of Elena's performances, we get a sense of the bright and dynamic person that she was. But we also learn about her struggles with depression and identity, and the toll that her pursuit of artistic greatness took on her mental health. In one particularly moving scene, Petra reflects on the day that Elena died, describing her sister's fearlessness and her unwillingness to let anything stand in the way of her dreams.

Throughout the film, there is a pervasive sense of loss and longing. Petra's voiceover narration is haunting and poetic, and the cinematography is often dreamlike and ethereal. At times, the film feels more like a reverie than a strict narrative, with scenes blending together in a way that evokes the blur of memories.

One of the most striking aspects of Elena is its use of visual metaphors. The film is full of images of water, rain, and drowning, which serve as a powerful representation of the overwhelming forces that Elena was up against. There are also repeated shots of mirrors, reflections, and doubles, which underscore the film's themes of identity and self-perception.

At its core, Elena is a deeply personal story about grief and remembrance. But it is also an exploration of larger themes, such as the immigrant experience and the price of artistic ambition. By the time the film reaches its emotional conclusion, we feel as though we have been on a journey with Petra, one that has taken us to the heart of loss and the power of memory.

Overall, Elena is a stunning and evocative documentary that will stay with audiences long after the credits have rolled. With its lyrical storytelling and sensitive approach to its subject matter, it is a testament to the enduring power of family, love, and the human spirit.

Elena is a 2014 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 22 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 81.

Where to Watch Elena
Elena is available to watch free on Vudu Free and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Elena for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 22 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (2,033)
  • Metascore