Screenshot 2016-03-24 10
A scene from the film 'California Winter' with A Martinez (left) and Elizabeth Dominguez (right). Odin Ozdil

2008 will go down as the year that millions of homeowners had to face the consequences that the bursting of the housing market bubble inflicted, especially on the working class. With the crisis somewhat on the mend now it might be hard for some to remember what initially happened when the realty world crashed and burned almost a decade ago. This is where “California Winter” steps in to remind and educate us about the plight the working class had to face after the banks started repossessing homes.

The setting is the Global Financial Crisis and at the heart of it is Clara (Elizabeth Dominguez) a real estate agent who’s been living the high life. She’s excelling in her career at the dismay of her jealous older co-workers. Clara has even saved enough to buy a lot of land, something she considers an asset but will soon turn into a burden for her. She lives with her parents to keep an eye on her gruff father Miguel (A Martinez) and sweet ailing mother Cecilia (Eliana Alexander).

Clara is a character who faces challenges with a sweet endearing smile. One hurdle is dealing with her aggressive standoffish father who’s not abusive but what comes out of his mouth would be considered harmful. Clara offers her parents an investment deal that would make their lives easier. It’s so big and brilliant that it can’t fail…until it does.

After offering her own parents, as well as her clients, real estate advice that eventually turns bad, Clara now has to deal with the consequence of seeing the effects this has on people first hand.

Like any Hollywood movie, a romance has to be placed into the story no matter how awkward and unlikely it might be. The romance between Clara and banker Carlos (Walter Perez) is so obvious you can see it happening before the two characters share a scene together. Dating the person who’s in charge of foreclosing on your parent’s house seems a little unnecessary and comes off as a tacky side plot.

For a movie about families losing their homes and the pain they go through, things are a little flat at times. The dialogue is obvious and could be that of a daytime soap opera. Though things aren’t completely standard with writer/director Odin Ozdil choosing to mix things up by having the majority of the film spoken in Spanish.

With its somewhat happy ending where families come together and communities stand tall against banking giants, “California Winter” is a film your grandma would enjoy right before her afternoon nap. The movies is good enough but there’s just not enough meat on this story’s bones for it to cross the line successfully.

3 out of 5