“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” John Lennon.
This quote perfectly encapsulates the vibe and premise of Netflix’s In Family I Trust or Gente Que Viene y Bah to give it its original Spanish title. Bea (Clara Lago) is a successful architect living in Barcelona with her boyfriend, fellow architect and her boss, Victor (Fernando Guallar).
When the team win a large contract to due to one of Bea’s designs, they all go out to celebrate the win. Bea gets merrily drunk and is at the bar with another colleague, Chavela (Núria Gago) when Rebecca Ramos (Marta Belmonte), a famous news reporter, comes into the bar.
Victor comes to the bar and asks if she had seen who had come into the bar. Bea pretends that she had not. Victor points out Ramos. It turns out that she is the second name on his list of famous people he would sleep with. He playfully dares Bea to go up and tell Ramos. Bea, emboldened by her inebriation, walks straight over to Ramos and tells her the whole story, introducing her to Victor.
The next morning, Victor proposes to Bea. She is a little taken aback but accepts. When she gets to work, everyone is staring at her as she walks through the office. Chavela tells her that she had been trying to call her all morning, Bea does not know why. She sees some of the office watching a news report. Victor has been caught cavorting with Rebecca Ramos and it is all over the news.
Bea, who was meant to be giving a presentation with Victor, instead slaps him in front of the investors and ends up losing her job. She decides to go and stay with her mother and see her family in Santa Clara.
Mother, Angela (Carmen Maura), a free spirit who has spent her life as housewife with an empathic talent for telling people what ails them, one of her sister’s, Débora, who is overly protective of her baby, Oscar, not even letting her husband, Juan (Eduardo Ferrés) touch the child and León (Carlos Cuevas), gay younger brother, all still live in the family home.
Taking a train back to Santa Clara, an already tired and frustrated Bea gets into a minor altercation with the cafe girl and another customer, Diego (Alex Garcia), when they both order the last beer. On seeing her anxiety, Diego, after initially being favoured by the cafe girl, offers Bea the beer. She refuses and leaves the cafe. She gets picked up by her older sister, Irene (Alexandra Jimenez) and her nephew, Irene’s young son, Fin (León Martinez).
Back at the family home, everyone who encounters Bea ventures an opinion on her situation. She does not want to talk about it. Irene is the mayor of Santa Clara and is trying to push a bio initiative through. The initiative is very unpopular and she faces mass opposition.
The family have dinner, including León’s policeman lover, Manel (Ferran Vilajosana). He asks if Bea is the one whose boyfriend ran off with the reporter. Bea does not want them to talk about her. Her mother changes the subject. She tells them all she has a year to live.
Angela does not want her children to worry about her, she just wants them to be happy. She tells Bea that she should build the tree house she dreamt of as a child. At first, she is reluctant, but after a little prompting, she decides to build it.
She begins to build with the help of León and Débora, but Débora has a meltdown. She tells them that the baby is a dwarf and she has not told her husband. She confesses that she slept with the dwarf stripper at her hen party. Later on, a drunk Bea sees Diego again, they have a brief conversation.
The next day, when they return to the tree house, workmen are clearing the area. Diego turns up, he owns the land, the family’s father having sold the land to him a year before. Irene comes and tells her sisters and brother to leave.
Angela finds Oscar’s father, much to Débora’s distress. Diego asks Bea to build a tree house for his daughter. She does not want to but Irene, needing his support for her campaign, forces her to. Rebecca flaunts Victor on television.
Bea begins to work on the tree house for Victor’s daughter. They get closer. Juan finds out that Oscar is a dwarf. Bea and Diego get together. Angela tells the dwarf, Teodoro (Sergio Dorado) about Oscar. He comes to see Débora. Rebbeca Ramos decides to do a story in Santa Clara. Diego and Bea get together again. Bea gets caught in the house, naked, by Diego’s widow’s parents. Victor tells Bea he is sorry and wants to be with her.
Ramos exposes Irene for abusing her position as mayor and she is forced to resign. Bea tries to expose Ramos but instead gets embarrassed herself. She returns to Barcelona and goes back to Victor, falling back into her old life. He plans to propose her but they are interrupted by a phone call. Her mother has died off a heart attack. They dance at the funeral. She sees Diego and talks to him. As he drives off, she runs after him and he stops and comes back to her. The end.
In Family I Trust is an enjoyable ninety plus minutes of gentle rom-com-cum-dramedy. Though the main story is around Bea’s life falling apart, the supporting stories – Angela dying but embracing the fact, Débora trying to keep her baby son, Oscar’s dwarfism secret, Irene’s drive to bring biotechnology to Santa Clara – even though none of the stories are especially oversold, they are, nonetheless, interesting, helping to flesh out the life of Bea and reflecting the reality of the world where, regardless of what is happening in one’s life, everyone has their own crisis or life going on.
From a book by Laura Norton, the script by Dario Madrona and Carlos Montero is funny and clever, taking a multilayered story and making it easy to follow. It is funny and touching, whilst still allowing each character to be distinguishable.
Even though there is so much going on, you never feel lost or confused by what is happening. Directed by Patricia Font, she allows the story to flow nicely, the camera barely noticeable in the story. The acting is excellent across the board, with even the smaller roles shining in their moments on the screen.
In Family I Trust is a film with heart and a definite feel good watch. Worth a look on a lazy afternoon.