31 July 2017 | rvf35-1
A quality, but not a feel-good, drama
"La sonata del silencio" is the story of two intertwined families in post-WWII Spain. Both families live in the same building, but as we eventually find out, they are much more than mere neighbors. The wealthy Figueroas live on the prime first floor whereas the once well-to-do but now struggling Montejanos live on the top floor (because the building has no elevator, the lower the floor, the more desirable the dwelling).
Antonio Montejano used to be a doctor, but for reasons that are revealed later, now works in a position that appears to be what we would nowadays call a paralegal. His very well-educated wife Marta takes a job as an assistant to make ends meet. Because Antonio suffers from tuberculosis and consequently misses a lot of work, the family's finances are crumbling. To give their daughter Elena a better life, Antonio marries her off to their very wealthy bachelor neighbor Mauricio, even though Elena has no feelings for him and of course is in love with someone else, a young (and broke) musician.
Antonio starts taking morphine for pain and quickly becomes addicted, and the cost of his morphine addiction exacerbates the family's already dire financial situation. To make matters even worse, the addiction makes him an unbearable person to live with. Both Marta and Elena are desperate to escape their marriages, something that can still be quite difficult today, all the more so in 1940s Spain.
The feel of the series is dark and often depressing. The two women's struggle with feeling trapped in impossible situations at times overwhelms. As I warned in the summary line, this is no feel-good drama. But it is very well-done. The acting and script are both first rate, and the series captures the post-WWII era with great skill.
Eventually, the reasons the lives of these two families are so tightly woven together are revealed. While the series gets so depressing at times that it starts to feel heavy and slow, the pace picks up considerably toward the end when plot twists and surprises come one after another. Given all the problems that the characters suffer through, you know it's impossible for all of them to find a happy ending, but take heart in knowing that at least some of them do.
If you're looking for something to make you feel good, "La sonata del silencio" isn't the ticket. But it is a quality drama that I think is definitely worth watching.