Can money buy love? This is the question that Alfonso finds the answer to on his son’s birthday. Separated from his wife and son, Alfonso is having a difficult time balancing his work schedule and his responsibilities as a father. Not a good time manager, Alfonso is always late for his appointments, and that often makes him appear irresponsible and lax in his duties as a parent. His passion for stamp collection keeps him company during his difficult times and offers solace when he is morose at his failure to meet his social responsibilities. His son Matias also shows a keen interest in hobbies involving collectables like his father and his collection of stickers that he has managed to complete. When Matias invites Alfonso for his birthday party, Alfonso decides to gift him the latest action toy to win him over. At the toy store, Alfonso manages to lay his hands on the last available piece of the toy on the shelf before losing it because of his carelessness. Does Alfonso manage to get the toy? Does the toy make the right impression on his son? And, did he manage to win his son over with his gift? These are the questions that this film explores.
‘Gratification’ is a short feature by Director Andrés Hernández Covarrubias. Andres picks a simple, mundane situation in the life of a parent looking forward to creating a bond with his son. Andreas chooses a linear narrative, buttressed with impressive establishment shots that grounds the story firmly in its elements. The film astutely picks what to leave out to enhance the storytelling. The actors do justice to their roles and get into the skin of their character, including the young Matias.
‘Gratification’ is as much an inspection of a failed father’s efforts to bond with his son as it is an insight into what the son expects of his father. When Alfonso shows genuine interest in spending quality time, he learns more about who Matias truly is. So, if time is money, can money buy love?