The Marked Heart (Pálpito) is a curious show in the telenovela format. Its story is preposterous and engaging, but it’s also strangely familiar. You can see hints of the melodrama in it. Yes, it’s like Romeo & Juliet—if Shakespearean drama were rewritten by Leonardo Padrón and inserted into a telenovela. Think more Big Love than Desperate Housewives—there are multiple marriages and affairs here, along with a few literal plot twists.
– The Marked Heart review doesn’t contain spoilers –
The Marked Heart is a Platonic and Over-the-Top Drama
Written by celebrated Venezuelan playwright Leonardo Padrón, The Marked Heart is a story about three generations of men who, despite their differences, learn to accept each other for who they are and how they can be happy in their own lives.
The Marked Heart attempts to recreate the magic that made previous Padrón adaptations such as RBD: La Familia and Alcanzar Una Estrella successful. While it’s true that it has a very talented cast and boasts some great moments, the series suffers from convoluted storylines that sometimes feel contrived, even for the world of telenovelas.
But perhaps it is the show’s atmosphere that is its biggest draw. The show feels incredibly cinematic, and Padrón has applied an exciting colour palette to the show. Set in a fictional town called Telchac, Mexico, The Marked Heart takes place in a world that feels like a blend of the past with modern sensibilities.
Perhaps it’s because of this aesthetic that we enjoyed The Marked Heart for what it is: a soap opera with some flair. Sure, there are moments where it feels like Padrón could have used some restraint, but we’re willing to chalk that up to artistic license.
A Spin-off of One of the Vulnerable Telenovelas is Seen in The Marked Heart
The biggest problem with The Marked Heart is that it feels too much like a soap opera. It isn’t easy to imagine that many viewers will be able to sit through the entire six hours of this series, especially when they already have so many choices on television.
The Marked Heart attempts to combine several different genres into one show, which is ambitious but doesn’t always work out. Sometimes it feels like an adult drama. Other times it’s a telenovela, while other moments play like a thriller or even a horror movie. Despite all of its genre-hopping, The Marked Heart manages to be entertaining enough for fans of the more well-known telenovelas out there.
The series involves multiple romantic, some platonic relationships, and often the best scenes include people simply interacting with each other. Padrón does an excellent job of mixing humour into the sometimes dark material, but he also allows for melodrama. It’s not something everyone will enjoy, but some viewers like their drama to be over-the-top.
The Marked Heart is Not Your Quintessential Drama
It’s also one of the few telenovelas on Netflix, and as such, it’s bound to draw in some viewers. People who like a little more realism can pass on this one, but those looking for something that is a little bit like the telenovelas of old, with plenty of drama and over-the-top scenarios and characters, may want to give this one a try. The Marked Heart is, at its core, a story about revenge and redemption.
At times, this show’s extreme characterizations will be too much for many viewers. There are no likeable characters in this show, at least not in any traditional sense. The villains are villains without a shred of humanity or a relatable motivation. There are no heroes in this show either. Some characters make choices that we might disagree with, but they all have understandable reasons for their actions.
The key to enjoying The Marked Heart is understanding its place in the genre of telenovelas and its context within Venezuelan culture. Telenovelas are designed to be as over-the-top as possible so that viewers can tune in every weekday (and sometimes every night) to see what crazy new thing will happen next.
Stream It or Skip It?
The Marked Heart is a high-energy telenovela that begins with the most improbable premise. It is a show that doesn’t skimp on the melodrama, and it doesn’t hold back on the twists and turns. This telenovela has everything you could want from a classic story like this one: revenge, murder, love and redemption.
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