Director: Juan Francisco Pardo
Year: 2013
Country: Aruba

Only You, or Abo So in its original Papiamento, is the first musical I’ve seen for this challenge. The songs were written with the contribution of Padu del Caribe, “Aruba’s most celebrated musician” according to the film’s official website. In addition, the director, Juan Francisco Pardo, has won several awards from various Caribbean film festivals. Interestingly, Only You has been officially released, in its entirety and with English subtitles, on YouTube:

The film is a straightforward romance between Tatiana and Santiago. Tatiana is a bright, talented young woman who moves into a new neighbourhood with her mother and brother. Santiago is a cocky and handsome local boy. In typical fashion for movies like this, Tatiana finds him brash and irritating at first, but they two soon fall in love.

Tatiana gives Santiago the cold shoulder on the street, prompting a musical number.

With a plot so conventional, Only You is forced to rely on pure style and charm to stand out. Unfortunately, the low production values are hard to ignore. The characters are likable and genuine, despite an apparent lack of experience on the part of the actors. The songs are entertaining, if a little forgettable. I finished watching Only You moments before writing this post, and I’m already having trouble humming the tunes.

abo so3.png
Tatiana and Santiago’s romance is cliched, but not cynically so.

Only You is the second Caribbean film I’ve entered on this blog, after The Skin (Antigua).  Both are lighthearted genre films aimed at local audiences, rather than heavy dramas aimed at international festivals. Only You dabbles with themes of immigration and race, but ultimately it’s a sweet, uncomplicated, musical romance with its heart in the right place and an earnest if inexperienced cast and crew.

Like The SkinOnly You takes advantage of its picturesque setting.

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