CARMEN (2023)

What You Need To Know:

CARMEN is a romantic drama with dance and music. A beautiful young Mexican woman’s mother is murdered by drug cartel thugs. Carmen flees to the United States. However, when she crosses the border at night, the volatile friend of a former Marine watching the border for the government suddenly decides to start shooting the coyote and the male illegals. When the guy approaches Carmen to attack her, his Marine buddy, Aidan, shoots him dead. Aidan helps Carmen flee to Los Angeles, where an old friend of her mother’s runs a nightclub and where they fall in love. Meanwhile, a Texas cop pursues them.

CARMEN is a loose, impressionistic version of Bizet’s famous opera. The plot doesn’t make much sense. Aidan shot his volatile friend because he murdered people and was going to attack Carmen. So, he shouldn’t be in trouble with the police. The story, music and dance numbers are too uninspiring to create any sort of connection to viewers. It’s kind of a chore to sit through them. CARMEN also has excessive foul language and a bedroom scene with explicit nudity.


(RoRo, P, PCPC, LLL, VV, SS, NN, A, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Romantic worldview about a doomed romance between a beautiful illegal immigrant seeking a new life after drug cartel thigs murdered her mother and a former American Marine who is sympathetic to her and then falls for her, with a politically correct side character in two early scenes who’s anti-immigration and murders some illegal immigrants and is a would-be rapist

Foul Language:
About 34 obscenities (including about 21 “f” words) and one light profanity

Strong but brief violence when man shoots some illegal immigrants, and then is shot dead when he’s about to attack a woman, a thug shoots an older women when she won’t tell him where her daughter is, and another character is shot dead

Depicted fornication in one scene, plus some kissing and romantic dancing

Upper female nudity in sex scene, and upper male nudity in that scene and several other scenes

Alcohol Use:
Alcohol use

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Couple runs from the police.

More Detail:

CARMEN (2023) is a romantic drama with dance and music about a former Marine helping a woman from Mexico fleeing across the border from the drug cartel that murdered her mother while a Texas cop, who may be working with the cartel, pursues them. Based on the story that inspired Bizet’s famous opera set in Spain, CARMEN lacks the fire and musical pizzaz that Bizet’s music and libretto gave to the original story.

The movie opens with some drug cartel members shooting Carmen’s defiant mother for not telling them where Carmen is. Carmen sneaks away and flees across the border.

Cut to a former Marine named Aidan accepting a job to be an observer for the U.S. Border Patrol, along with Aidan’s volatile friend, Mike. The Border Patrol officer in charge tells Aidan and Mike that their job is to just observe and call him if they see any activity. However, Mike breaks away from Aidan, starts shooting the coyote and immigrants. Carmen happens to be there. When it looks like Mike is going to take advantage of her, Aidan shoots Mike in the head.

Aidan helps Carmen flee across the border and travel to Los Angeles, to meet up with a female friend of Carmen’s mother, whom Carmen remembers from her childhood. The older woman, Masilda, runs a small Mexican nightclub where she and younger women dance for the customers. Carmen joins the dancers while she and Aidan begin a romance.

However, a Texas cop is pursuing them, and it’s unclear whether he’s working for the cartel or not.

CARMEN is a loose, impressionistic version of the famous opera by Bizet which is itself based on a novel. Some of the emotions are conveyed through dance accompanied by instrumental music and sometimes by a male and female choir.

The plot to this movie doesn’t make much sense. In the first place, Aidan shot his volatile friend because he murdered people and was going to attack Carmen. So, he shouldn’t be in trouble with the police. Also, there’s no reason for him to suddenly feel sympathy for Carmen’s immigration status, especially since she doesn’t mention why she was so desperately trying to get across the border. In fact, the movie never reveals why the drug cartel came after Carmen and why they would kill her mother. It leaves viewers in the dark.

In addition, the music and dance numbers are too impressionistic and uninspiring to create any sort of connection to the viewer. It’s kind of a chore to sit through them.

Finally, unlike the opera, this Carmen is no sultry temptress, and the soldier, Aidan, is no spurned lover. Eventually, the movie ends anti-climactically. It also has excessive foul language and a bedroom scene with explicit nudity.

CARMEN the movie may remind some viewers of past movies about two doomed lovers. One of the best of those past movies is the acclaimed 1948 movie THEY LIVE BY NIGHT about two young lovers, a wounded criminal and the woman who nurses him back to health. Sadly, CARMEN doesn’t come anywhere close to the dynamic drama of that movie, which was directed by troubled, but brilliant director Nicholas Ray, director of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, James Dean’s last movie, and THE KING OF KINGS with Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus.

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