The Longest Distance

A 12-year-old boy in Caracas, traumatized by his mother’s unexpected death, runs away from his home to connect with his free-spirited grandmother in the mountains of southeast Venezuela; unbeknownst to him, she’s planning to commit suicide before her terminal cancer becomes too painful to bear. This family-friendly drama seems designed to introduce older children to death and grieving; writer-director Claudia Pinto Emperador presents these themes plainly and sensitively, and demonstrates a keen understanding of the young hero’s psychological development (she’s also effective in depicting adults the way preteens might like to see them—as honest, confident, and patient). Grown-ups might find this somewhat overstated, though, particularly in the melodramatic contrivances that motor the plot. In Spanish with subtitles.