Not another biopic of America's no-nonsense Commander-In-Chief, but a Spanish (fully subtitled) import from Cesc Gay which leaves a deep impact in a profoundly delicate and understated meditation on death, friendship and love not without its droll moments.
In Truman a longtime up-and-down Argentinian actor Julian (Ricardo Darin) out of Madrid has a special visitor from Canada, a teacher with a family, Tomas Camara's Javier.
Julian is facing an eminent demise after forgoing further treatments after malignant growths have spread from his chest, and the film is bookended by the few days spend with his once inseparable amigo. It's a crucial point that pivots on those 'looking back' snapshots, reliving some of the joy and heartache to preparation for the grief to be borne by himself and others. He even visits a mortuary to process and understand how it all will turn out in the mordant aftermath.
This insightful, emotional tale includes Julian's cousin Paula (Dolores Fonzi) and an impromptu visit to Amsterdam to see his college-age son (Oriol Pla) as the suffering, yet resilient man notes that 'each person dies the best he can.' The grace and gratitude that emerges from Julian to loved ones and others he's wronged is offset in a way by certain reactions to his grave condition (almost like being contagious).
Gay and his co-scenarist Tomas Aragay have devised an unsentimental, truthful account that lets Darin (Nine Queens) and Camara (Talk To Her) display their aplomb for the craft in a natural way which goes to prove how revered they are their countries, the latter from the film's chief setting. It's a great repartee, even with Darin having the showier role.
Where the title comes into play may very well include Gay's most effective, touching moments in handling trauma and moving forward in the best interest concerning Julian's beloved (eponymous) slobbering bull mastiff when it comes to a veterinarian and a potential adoptive family. Being in the company of Julian, Javier and those connected to them thrives with enormous humanity in the midst of existing on your last legs (even for our dear furry, wagging friends).