NEW to Netflix, Elena Knows is a film adaption of the 2021 International Booker Prize-shortlisted novel by bestselling Argentinian author Claudia Pineiro.
65-year-old Elena (Mercedes Morán), despite the progression of Parkinson’s disease taking its toll on her body, leads a relentless investigation to find out the truth about the sudden death of her daughter Rita (Érica Rivas).
Elena is not satisfied with the police’s judgement of suicide after her devoted daughter is found hanging in a church bell tower.
Despite the debilitating systems of Parkinson’s disease, she makes a punishing journey across Buenos Aires to investigate Rita’s death as she seeks out Isabel, her daughter’s childhood friend. Elena hopes Isabel, now a solicitor with a grown daughter of her own, will help her investigations out of a sense of gratitude for an act of intervention made by Rita 20 years earlier.
Every step Elena takes on her Don Quixote-esque odyssey is impeded by obstacles. Negotiating trains and taxis and simply getting through the Argentinian Capital’s clamorous and congested streets proves challenging.
But despite the powerful impact of the chronic degenerative disorder on her body, her mind is still sharp and she takes perverse pleasure in each fragment of information she gathers from a world that barely looks up to acknowledge her existence.
Everyone from her daughter’s boyfriend to the parish priest and the investigating detective are satisfied with the explanation of death by suicide, but Elena is dogged in her quest for the truth. She takes no prisoners in her search for answers and doesn’t care if her blunt questioning rubs those she meets on her arduous journey up the wrong way.
Morán is powerful in the lead role as a woman who struggles with her disability and memories of her daughter and their lives together. It becomes clear early on that even before Rita became her mother’s carer that the pair had a complicated relationship.
Elena Knows is a deeply thought-provoking and ultimately heartbreaking film.