Take a good look at that photo above and tell me if it doesn't look like Diego Luna is having a ball directing Abel. You might know Luna from his small but memorable role as Enrique Cruz in Spielberg's The Terminal, or his turn as Harvey Milk's lover Jack Lira in Gus Van Sant's Milk. But at Sundance 2010 he was premiering Abel, his first effort as a director. The result is a charming film about a boy with a problem, and the family who struggles in the wake it creates.
Abel hasn't dealt well with the loss of his father. He's been housed in a psychiatric hospital in a near catatonic state while his younger brother and teenaged sister continue to live life at home. He often goes into a trance-like state and draws spirals on his palm. When Abel's mother comes to collect him, he doesn't respond to her at all. She takes him home anyhow, but things do not improve. Just when it seems like something has to give, something does. It's this change that the family has a hard time dealing with, but it seems to be the only thing that can help Abel.