Cry Macho is a road trip film set in late 1970’s Mexico, with an aging rodeo star leading
a confused boy away from trouble and toward a new life. The film comes across most
strongly for how likeable the characters are, but it may not meet all viewers expectations with a somewhat slow plot.
This is a story about two characters Mike Milo (Clint Eastwood) and Rafo (Eduardo
Minett). Milo is an elderly cowboy who has fallen on hard times. Rafo is a somewhat troubled, yet endearingly confident teen who has the misfortune of being a pawn between two pretty lousy parents.
Milo is called upon to go down to Mexico and rescue Rafo.
Eastwood is iconic, known first for his Western and action roles, and then for broadening
his horizons with more complex fare later in his career. While Cry Macho’s theme is similar to
the theme of Eastwood’s 2008 Gran Torino--characters of different generations relating to each other, befriending each other, and rescuing each other--Cry Macho is generally a happier film. It thrives as a character study performed by two talented actors.
Minett is hard not to like as Rafo. He plays an innocent, but troubled young man, who is
big on bravado, and short on worldliness. His best friend up until meeting Milo, is a rough-
housing rooster named “Macho.”
Admittedly, it may take a few minutes for audience members to process how much more
frail Eastwood looks at 91 then he did 13 years ago when Gran Torino was filmed. But once a
cowboy, always a cowboy.
He hasn’t taken off his boots quite yet. In fact, Cry Macho offers a new chance to see him
on horseback, though the scene filmed supposedly showing him breaking a horse seemed a bit of a stretch.
There is action in this film. It’s realistic, and just enough to move the plot forward
without taking away from the development of the relationship between Milo and Rafo. Eastwood is also the director, and is an able craftsman, with an emphasis put on storytelling rather than effects.
This is not a CGI-filled, frantically paced, action extravaganza. It is an often-sweet, well-
acted, plodding rescue film. The characters learn to rescue themselves, and they help each other do that.
There is a bit of romance in the film too. Milo and Rafo come across some badly-needed
assistance during their adventure back to the United States borderoffered by the lovely Marta (played by Natalia Traven).
It may come off as a bit of an ask for the audience to see the much older Milo with the
beautiful 50-something Marta, but the relationship is one between two widows and is not entirely implausible. And it is presented gently, in Eastwood’s characteristic sentimental style.
Cry Macho is a sentimental film, and truly does has some very poignant moments of
dialogue between its two main characters. Some in the audience may take those words with them beyond the theater. This isn’t a film that makes you think too hard, but it does resonate.
If more time had been spent on developing the dialogue between Rafo and Milo earlier
on, it likely would have been a more powerful film. But because of the relatively slow plot, and later introduction of Rafo, it feels like the character’s relationships just begin to deepen, and then its time to hit the exit.
Overall, Cry Macho gets three stars out of five--three and a half for Eastwood fans. It is
an enjoyable tale, and worth a few bucks to go see in the theater. It is not a blockbuster, and not Eastwood’s finest film. It is a good movie though, and a patient audience will come out of the theater happier for the experience.
One wonders what Mr. Eastwood might come out with next. He has not lost his directing chops, and if he finds age-appropriate storylines, could find more enjoyable stories to tell. But after seven decades of creating motion pictures, he's certainly earned time out of the saddle too.