Review: Mucho Mucho Amor
by Julie Perez
A Magical Wave of Nostalgia
“Walter Mercado is a force of nature, without beginnings and endings. He used to be a star but now, Walter is a constellation.” – Walter Mercado
Walter Mercado was a staple in my Mexican household. My pre-teen memories are full of moments where my mom and I sat down together to watch the news show: Primer Impacto. We would wait for the magical Walter Mercado’s astrological predictions every evening and for those few minutes, he was a beautiful distraction from the chaotic news cycle.
Directed by Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch, Netflix is set to release a documentary centered around Walter Mercado on July 8th. The release feels extremely poignant for this time, when so many of us are fighting to exist as the best versions of ourselves, this documentary serves as an affirmation that no matter who you are and how much you feel you stand out, you’re always meant to be just as you are. This documentary felt like a privilege to witness, to get to look at Walter’s life in such an intimate setting felt abundantly special.
The documentary walks you through his life in beautifully-tender way; you see pictures of him as a child in Ponce, Puerto Rico and how it came to be that people first thought that he had a magical gift. We follow him through his theater career, unto his TV career and finally to the moment that he became the Walter Mercado that we all fell in love with. To see how Walter Mercado came to be and came to thrive in a community that is often misogynistic and close-minded, feels like the assurance that so many of us have been waiting for.
It’s appreciated that the documentary refuses to shy away from this part of Walter’s story. To watch a series of interview clips where the interviewers ask Walter Mercado about his sexuality and sexual orientation is infuriating but Walter’s refusal to answer the question feels inspiring. That moment in the documentary is just an example of how much we ask from our public figures. Constantini and Tabsch tackled this subject perfectly, using to move through the timeline and not harping down on the issue. Just a reminder that Walter Mercado was special regardless of his sexual orientation. Such a necessary message right now!
Mucho Mucho Amor feels like a beautiful declaration of love to Walter Mercado and his life’s work. Also for those wondering, we finally get the answers as to why he was away from the public eye for so long. This documentary was pure joy to witness. The storytelling feels intimate; the invasion of privacy feels respectful and you can feel how much love went into making the documentary. It encapsulates the things about Walter Mercado that we fell in love with: the way his cadence could make you believe in yourself, the calm and peaceful demeanor that made his stage presence so magnetic and his words that always calmed your spirit and filled you with joy.
The words always were, “Que reciban de mi siempre paz, mucha paz, pero sobre todo mucho, mucho amor”. (May you receive from me always, peace, lots of peace, but above all, lots and lots of love.) At a time when so many of us are craving representation, this documentary feels like a wonderful reminder of the people who have paved the way for us. I think his assistant Willie said it best, “When he [Walter Mercado] passes away, the essence of Walter will live forever and ever in the heart of everybody that love him”.