Luisa is an elegant woman living in a spacious and luxurious home, surrounded by servants to do her every bidding, including an on-call masseuse to rub her cares away. Luisa and her family have a cushy life, their wealth and status apparent. But that doesn’t mean they never have troubles. Luisa has just returned home from a stay at a psychiatric clinic. Post-partum depression doesn’t care if you have a night nurse or a top-of-the-line stroller. It can happen to anyone. It has happened to Luisa. Back home, she’s expected to rest while the servants take care of everything else (including the baby), keeping Luisa’s struggles an invisible secret.
As Luisa, Anahí Hoeneisen gives a very strong performance, nuanced with grief, guilt, depression, and detachment. It’s very subtle, and doesn’t require a lot of plot, yet her instability and inner turmoil are clearly communicated. Accused of trying to hurt her child, Luisa finds it essential yet nearly impossible to simply reinsert herself into her former life. She tries to perform as if nothing is wrong, but the pressure is too much, perhaps even was too much, and posing as the perfect housewife is no longer an option. Something invisible is stopping her from assuming her old role; everyone assumes this is what she must do, yet they’re also reluctant to let her hold her baby again. Is there any place left for her?
Director Javier Andrade and writing partner Hoeneisen do great work together, making each scene a deliberate step down the slope of Luisa’s quickly unraveling mental health. Privilege has given Luisa almost everything, but as Andrade’s film illustrates, almost doesn’t count.
Lo invisible is an official selection of TIFF 2021.