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DVD Review: Little Ashes

January 26, 2010

Little Ashes – An E1 Films’ Release

Release Date: May 22nd, 2009

DVD Release Date: January 26th, 2010

Rated 18A for coarse language, nudity and sexual content

Running time: 112 minutes


Paul Morrison (dir.)

Philippa Goslett (writer)


Miguel Mera (music)


Javier Beltrán as Federico García Lorca

Robert Pattinson as Salvador Dalí

Matthew McNulty as Luis Buñuel

Marina Gatell as Magdalena


Our reviews below:


Little Ashes DVD Review By John C.

* (out of 4)

If Stephenie Meyer had never stuck pen to paper and written that vampire love saga, than this piece o’ junk would have never been seen outside of Spain. Little Ashes is a story of forbidden love and art. It’s a bio-pic of three people, Salvador Dali, Fredirico Garcia Lorca and Louis Buenel, trying to express themselves in the only way they can and the people who are trying to prevent them. The filmmakers behind Little Ashes have forbidden love and art, and somebody should have prevented them.


The first time we see Robert Pattinson playing Dali, he is wearing a wig that looks like one of Johnny Depp’s leftovers from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This is only the first time you will howl with laughter.  There are so many moments of inadvertent hilarity in this sloppy melodrama, that it’s hard to decide which one’s the funniest. In one of the film’s stand-out sequences, Lorca and his girlfriend “hop on the good foot and do the bad thing,” while Dali watches pleasurably from the corner. Was this meant to be erotic? I’m not sure. But it certainly gave me a good laugh.


Sensitive viewers may want to look away as they show the infamous “cutting the eyeball” scene from Luis Bunuel’s 1929 avante garde film Un Chein Andalou. All viewers may want to look away during the entire movie. Or better yet, just skip it all together.  I’m disappointed that I didn’t see this one in time to give it proper due on my 2009 worst list, but I’m also glad that I never wasted my time seeing it at a theatre.


Perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh on this film, but you know what? I was bored and just couldn’t take it seriously. I’m not entirely sure how to say “bad movie” in Spanish, so I’ll just finish by quoting what Yoda might say: “Sucks this movie does.”


If you wish to make your viewing experience even longer, the DVD includes interviews with the director and 3 of the stars, excluding Pattinson.


Little Ashes DVD Review By Erin V.

*1/2 (out of 4)

I really didn’t enjoy the film Little Ashes all that much. I found it to be very poorly executed, and the storyline did not flow. I never felt any connection to the characters, and instead felt as though I were watching a kind of badly acted stage play. Make that a stage play where the only acting training the lead ever had, was in mime facial expressions.


Unlike how a good biopic would be, you don’t really learn anything much about Dali here. Unless you’ve read up on him beforehand, it doesn’t really give you any idea. It just sort of plays through from start to finish with no point.


I know that he is popular to many, but I have not seen a very wide range of acting from Robert Pattinson – ever. This is actually the film where he has the widest range of emotions, and while some of his facial expressions are inadvertently hilarious, they really did not work. Except maybe to provide some comedy in an otherwise not very watchable film.


The scenes with unintentional comedy here are the first scene where Pattinson as Dali is revealed – using a camera shot much like the reveal of the woman in The Naked Gun where she had two sets of knees. It takes such a long time to reveal him from bottom to top, that when we finally do see the expression on his face, we can’t help but laugh. Another scene of note, is the last scene when he flings the cape over his shoulder. The only thing I can say about this film is that some of the facial expressions he uses are priceless. That, and his hop, skip and jumping tactic that he uses while following people through the streets…


Little Ashes DVD Review By Nicole

*1/2 (out of 4)

Little Ashes is a boring (and occasionally, but unintentionally funny), film about Salvador Dali. How pathetic that such an interesting story could be done so badly. Even teens who love Rob Pattinson will be disappointed as he plays the worst (but funniest role) of Salvador Dali.


However his “Hubert the Cat” dance, and the final scene are good for a laugh. But if you want to see a movie that is equally awful, but with even more unintentional laughs watch Angel, the only movie that i have seen that is funnier and worse.


Little Ashes DVD Review By Maureen

* (out of 4)

Salvador Dali’s life and story are no doubt interesting. It’s too bad Little Ashes seemed more like a caricature and comedy than a serious bio-pic. The acting, writing were completely uninspirng. Only die-hard Robert Pattinson fans could possibly find this interesting. Skip it.


Little Ashes DVD Review By Tony

** (out of 4)

Little Ashes dramatizes the early careers of three avant garde artists studying together in 1920s Madrid. Andalucian poet Federico García Lorca (Javier Beltrán) and future filmmaker Luis Buñuel (Matthew McNulty) have already been in college for several years when the outrageous Catalan artist Salvador Dalí (Robert Pattinson) arrives as a freshman. Along with Lorca’s sometime girlfriend Magdalena (Marina Gatell), a young writer who dresses like a flapper, the artists live a decadent lifestyle in a Madrid bound in tradition and quickly coming under Fascist control. Dalí and Lorca have a passionate affair, while the homophobic Buñuel moves to Paris to make films. Eventually Dalí moves to Paris to make two films with Buñuel and take up with the married woman Gala. Suspicions about Lorca’s gay affair and his revolutionary poetry lead to his execution at the hands of the Fascists.


Despite its good intentions, Little Ashes could have been a lot better. For those not familiar with the period, it appeared disjointed and hard to follow at times, since the few brief references to historical context could easily be missed among the noise. A lot of the film suffered from a pretentious arthouse atmosphere, such as the gay nighttime underwater sequence under a strange Pandoran blue light. Javier Beltrán’s performance outclassed the others, not least because he is a native Spanish speaker. Unfortunately, his beautiful rendering of Lorca’s poetry in Spanish was drowned out by a simultaneous oral English translation rather than subtitles. Teen heartthrob Pattinson was appropriately weird as Dalí, though we found ourselves laughing at him more than we probably should have–not a good sign.


Consensus: Not as good as it could or should have been, Little Ashes just ends up feeling like a parody of itself. It’s never a good sign when you’re laughing, and not sure if it was intended to be funny. *1/2 (Out of 4)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sue Littleton permalink
    June 22, 2013 7:10 am

    Am a fan of all three individuals concerned. Saw the movie twice in an afternoon. Entered into the three exotic lives of three very creative individuals, liked the ambiance and the presentation of the epoch. As to RP’s strange acts, Dalí did many strange things — he was a very peculiar individual. Therefgore I liked Pattison’s interpretation and found it authentic. Beltrán was perfect, he even LOOKED like Garcia Lorca! Buñel was not as clearly presented as the first two artists. The critiques I read seemed to me to have been written by adolescents who know very little of three main characters– Lorca’s poetry, Dalí`s paintings, and Buñel’s movies. I am 81 years old and bilingual, so I came at the movie from a very different viewpoint. My only regret was that the entire movie could have been in Spanish — and I agree that Lorca should have been read in Spanish with English subtitles.

    I liked Magdalena, thought the difficulty of a woman falling in love with a homosexual and having to face the reality of an truly impossible relationship well expressed..


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