- 1 hr 53 min
Popi is a 1969 American comedy-drama film directed by Arthur Hiller and featuring an eclectic cast including Alan Arkin, Rita Moreno, and Reuben Figueroa. The movie tells the story of a Puerto Rican father struggling to provide a better life for his two sons in the crowded tenements of Spanish Harlem, New York City. Abraham Rodriguez, known as Popi (Alan Arkin), is determined to give his sons Luis (Miguel Alejandro) and Junior (Ruben Figueroa) a better future than the one he had. Popi decides to use his gift for storytelling to concoct an elaborate plan to earn money for his sons' education and a future in America.
Popi, a career window washer, concocts a plan to have his sons relocated by the authorities to a wealthy Anglo-American family in Long Island. Popi believes that if he can convince the authorities that he is unfit to care for his children, they will intervene, and the children will be placed with an affluent family.
To achieve his goal, Popi fakes a suicide attempt to appear insane, and the ruse is successful, with his sons sent to live with a wealthy white family. Everything seems to be going according to plan until the boys become homesick and their wealthy surrogate parents become suspicious about their past.
Popi, realizing that the plan he concocted has gone too far, sets out to make things right, aided by a new friend, an Italian-American woman named Lupe (Rita Moreno). Popi's relationship with Lupe takes a romantic turn, and she becomes an ally in his attempts to regain custody of his children.
Popi is a rare gem of a movie that manages to be both heartwarming and comical while exploring the themes of fatherhood, sacrifice, and the immigrant experience. Director Arthur Hiller uses New York City as a backdrop to show the contrast between the wealth of Long Island's suburbs and the working-class poverty of Spanish Harlem.
Alan Arkin delivers an exceptional performance as Popi, portraying the character's struggles with humor and sensitivity. Rita Moreno adds a dimension of charm and poignancy to the story with her portrayal of Lupe, the love interest who helps Popi with his plan.
The movie is also unique in its exploration of issues of race and ethnicity. Popi is determined to ensure that his sons grow up in the United States without the prejudice and discrimination he experienced as a Puerto Rican immigrant. However, his plan to have his sons live with wealthy white Americans instead brings to the fore the issue of income inequality, highlighting the vast differences between the two families.
Overall, Popi is a beautifully crafted movie that showcases the talents of its director, cast, and writers. The film's heartwarming message about the sacrifices parents make for their children is timeless, and the themes about the immigrant experience and race relations in America are as relevant today as they were in 1969. Popi is a must-see movie that will leave audiences feeling a mixture of emotions and perhaps an appreciation for the lengths that parents will go to provide a better life for their children.
Popi is a 1969 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 53 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6.