‘A Perfect Story’ (2023) Review: Take It With A Grain Of Salt


Adapted from Elisabet Benavent’s novel that goes by the same name, A Perfect Story, is not just about finding one’s soulmate but making a choice to be with them even when everything seems unfavorable. The plot is quite familiar—an uber-rich girl falls in love with a boy struggling to make ends meet. The “rich girl, poor boy” trope has been used over and over again, be it in literature or films. The socio-economic difference brings in the drama, and what can be described as somewhat of a forbidden element attracts the crowd. The reverse is equally popular; after all, we are all familiar with Cinderella. What used to be the prince charming has now become an affluent businessman, but the story remains pretty much the same. While the trope stays the same, it is the treatment of the narrative that makes a difference.

The rich man mostly prefers women who are not like the ones he sees around him. He is always in search of someone who lives life without any inhibitions and, of course, is unaware of his social status. She must be grounded and also ready to challenge his beliefs to help him evolve into a more balanced individual. While falling in love with a prince charming is the perfect Cinderella ending, when the roles reverse, everything changes. While patriarchy has taught us that a man must provide for his wife, role reversal makes that impossible. When a woman provides for a man, it is assumed that she will become the decision-maker and control him. The male ego is challenged in such situations, and it usually results in three outcomes: the woman will leave her privileged life for a humble existence; the two will decide to end their relationship as a result of social pressure, or the man will see past his ego and try to build a life with the woman without her having to make extraordinary sacrifices. The third ending is about choosing love over everything else. It is about challenging the status quo and setting an example. Finding a balance instead of forcing each other into a lifestyle they do not enjoy is equally crucial. A Perfect Story is all about choosing between love and ego. Men married to wealthy women are often considered less masculine and submissive, and David had to break free from preconceived notions and choose his life on his own terms.

Margot is not a snobbish brat; while she was born into a wealthy family, she always wanted to prove her worth. Unlike her mother, who only cared about parties and celebrations, Margot aimed to become a decisive member of the company board. Even though it was her grandfather who had started the business and she was the Vice President, the board members, who happened to be all men, never gave a hoot about Margot’s opinion. She was treated like a little girl who barely had any sense of business. She overworked to prove herself, and at times it wore her down. She found comfort in Filippo without realizing how he, too, was trying to mold her according to his taste. Margot was always unsure about herself, and she relied on Filippo for validation. On the day of their wedding, after suffering from a panic attack, Margot decides to run away. She did not know why she was anxious, but she could not bear the thought of getting married. A Perfect Story also about self-discovery and it tries to address the idea of how relationships are meant to allow individual growth rather than complete dependency.

When it comes to Margot, we are asked to believe that she found herself when she was with David. But then again, Margot was relying on another man’s opinion. Can she truly be free if she tries to fit into the next man’s idea of an independent woman? Isn’t that the decision she must make for herself? Was David not trying to turn her into the carefree individual that he was? Well, it would not have been problematic if it was Margot who independently evolved into a woman who enjoyed wearing printed tees, but that was not the case. The focus was too much on Margot’s evolution, and somehow it did not work. While it was great that she was challenging herself, it was David who made the list in the first place. The half-baked idea of self-discovery seemed unnecessary and superficial. And what was all the more striking was that David does not change as much. While they both were supposed to undergo challenges, it was only Margot who had to reform. Margot’s decision to run away from her wedding was the only decision she truly made as an individual.

As a light-hearted romantic drama, A Perfect Story is not all bad. The episodes are of average duration, and the story is not stretched beyond what is necessary. The five episodes make it perfect for a quick watch, and since it is a limited series, it does not come with the commitment baggage of another season. It is best not to expect anything beyond the formula from this Netflix Spanish series. Everything that happens is pretty much how you would expect such a plot to unfold. Visually, it is bright, colorful, and dreamy-romantic, especially in the Greece episodes. From an indecisive, uptight individual to a fun-loving, relaxed businesswoman, Anna Castillo as Margot is delightful to watch. Alvaro Mel, as the carefree David, was convincing, and it is the chemistry between the central characters that makes the series all the more enthralling. Apart from the Margot-David story, we have a subplot involving Patricia, one of Margot’s sisters, though it does not deliver on the initial promises. It gets a little sidetracked, but in the end, A Perfect Story manages to tie it all together. A Perfect Story is a stereotypical romantic drama that tries to deliver more than what is expected but does not succeed. It is best watched keeping in mind the usual tropes and for entertainment only.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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