The Fall of the Queens (Movie Review)

Originally titled Cómo mueren las reinas, The Fall of the Queens is the directorial feature debut of Argentine Filmmaker Lucas Nazareno Turturro. Picked up by Uncork’d Entertainment and released digitally on June 7, 2022, it focuses on the lives on three women – an older aunt and two teenage siblings, who operate a bee farm in the countryside. It seems to be a nice, quiet life from the outside, but there are some serious issues beneath the surface.

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Not a Horror film, but more in the vein of a Psychological Thriller/Drama that takes some truly dark turns, the story of The Fall of the Queens has all the ingredients for a coming-of-age Drama, but it’s quite different from what Hollywood putting out. The women are Aunt Ines (Umbra Colombo: Malparida series, An Ocean Blue 2019), older sister Juana (Malena Filmus: The Lion’s Den 2017, Tony series), and younger sister Mara (Lola Abraldes). Juana is around eighteen and has at least a few years on Mara.

Things in the family start to change when their troubled cousin, Lucio (Franco Rizzaro: 100 Days to Fall in Love series, Victoria Small series), comes to stay with them. However, it would be over-simplifying to say that Lucio’s arrival is the cause of the events of the story because all three ladies have their problems. We learn the two teens lost their parents in a car accident some time ago, which is why they are staying with Ines. Ines herself is detached and miserable, depressed because an affair she is having with a married man coming to an end. The sisters are still dealing with their trauma, and Mara’s burgeoning sexuality has major implications for the social balance of the family.

Lucio seems to be a typical teen guy, who apparently is being sent to his aunt’s house to curb his recently troubling behavior. He is superficial but charming in his own way, and even if troubled is far from criminal. He learns the job of beekeeping alongside his cousins, with Juana pointing out the males are all drones who die after fertilizing the queen, and that to survive one must become a queen. The problem in this situation is not Lucio or even the somewhat neglectful Ines, it’s Juana. She is a downright evil character – a lying, manipulative sociopath whose every scene is emphasizes these traits, to the detriment of the overall story ultimately. Within their own isolated world, Juana sees herself as the heir-apparent to their ‘hive,’ but really is power obsessed, and takes pleasure in the suffering of others.

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Sexuality is also a major theme within The Fall of the Queens. Ines is spiraling ever downward mentally because of her aging and perhaps sees the dissolution of the affair as a door closing on her finding love. Mara is underage (by U.S. standards), but is a young woman discovering herself and her desires, while Juana is no virgin but acts as both a facilitator and guardian of Mara’s sexuality, with disturbing implications in some places. While both sisters come on to Lucio sexually, Mara’s actions are more of a typical teenage first-love, but Juana’s are only to manipulate under her own twisted concept of protection.

The Fall of the Queens is short, just about eighty minutes, which is a good. This story would not benefit from going over ninety minutes. The themes are serious and are often treated as such, but Juana’s character is a bit too evil for the story. It would have been more interesting and less predictable in places if it were different. She is so bad that one wonders how she has a somewhat normal relationship with her aunt and sister before Lucio arrives. The ending also leaves something to be desired, and goes in a direction that is both impractical and not invested in earlier.

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All that said, the actors are engaging and are what drive The Fall of the Queens. They are all very good at their roles despite some head scratching moments in the script, and convey genuine emotion with mature, difficult material. Overall, The Fall of the Queens is a decent Thriller Drama with solid performances that carry a rickety script of intense themes to something worth your time. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives this film 3 out of 5 stars.

Uncork’d Entertainment

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