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Problemista does not have end credit scenes.

Problemista

Problemista

2024

Alejandro (Julio Torres) is an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador, struggling to bring his unusual ideas to life in New York City. As time on his work visa runs out, a job assisting an erratic art-world outcast (Tilda Swinton) becomes his only hope to stay in the country and realize his dream.

Runtime: 1 h 38 m

Box Office: $141K

Language:

By:

Genres:

Ratings:

Metacritic

72

Metascore

4.2

User Score

Metacritic

0.0

%

User Score

Check out what happened in Problemista!

In the opening scenes set in El Salvador, we are introduced to young Alejandro Martinez's (Logan J Alarcon-Poucel) upbringing by his mother Dolores (Catalina Saavedra), an artist who nurtures her son's creativity while also harboring concerns for him. This dynamic is depicted through a scene where Alejandro, clad in blue, confronts a beast with glowing red eyes in a cave, as narrated by Isabella Rosselini.

Fast forward to the present, Alejandro (Julio Torres) resides in Bushwick, sharing an apartment with others and aspiring to become a toy designer at Hasbro. Despite the social invitations from his roommate Spray (Spike Einbinder), Alejandro is determined to stay focused on his career goals and maintaining his residency in the country. His innovative toy concepts include a Barbie with hidden crossed fingers, Cabbage Patch kids equipped with smartphones displaying unique messages or images, a Slinky that struggles to descend stairs, and a toy car prone to flat tires. Unfortunately, Alejandro's application to Hasbro is rejected.

Subsequently, Alejandro secures a position as an archivist at FreezeCorp, where he is responsible for the care of a cryogenically preserved artist, Bobby Asencio (RZA), who fell ill with cancer in the 90s just as he was about to unveil an exhibition of his egg-themed artwork. Elizabeth (Tilda Swinton), Bobby's strong-willed and forthright wife, regularly visits FreezeCorp to check on her husband and encounters Alejandro while he is tending to Bobby's preservation chamber.

On Alejandro's initial day at FreezeCorp, he mistakenly disconnects a blue cable from Bobby's cryogenic chamber. His supervisor notices the mishap and informs Sharon (Kelly McCormack), the manager, leading to Alejandro's dismissal despite the absence of any real harm. Later, after a confrontation with Sharon over access to Bobby's pod, Elizabeth encounters Alejandro and proposes he assist her in cataloging Bobby's collection of 13 egg-themed artworks for an exhibition, offering to sponsor his stay in the country. Alejandro consults with his immigration advisor, Mr. Khalil (Laith Nakli), who advises that he cannot receive compensation from Elizabeth until her sponsorship is formalized, giving him a 30-day deadline to avoid deportation.

Tasked by Elizabeth to arrange Bobby's artwork using the FileMaster Pro software, Alejandro is too embarrassed to confess his unfamiliarity with the program. Concurrently, he undertakes various peculiar jobs found on Craigslist, presented by a quirky individual (Larry Owens). He also begins to rent out his room to an aspiring actor, Travis (Theo Maltz).

Complicating matters, Alejandro discovers Elizabeth has hired another assistant, Bingham (James Scully), who is wealthy and seeks to advance his art career. Although Bingham describes Elizabeth as a “monster,” Alejandro doesn't share this sentiment.

Elizabeth discovers that a crucial painting by Bobby, titled "Blue Egg on Yellow Satin," is missing, currently held by Dalia Park (Greta Lee), a former student and Bobby's past lover. In response to their affair, Elizabeth previously damaged Dalia's reputation with a harsh critique of her artwork. During a visit to Dalia's residence, Elizabeth and Alejandro present a letter of apology to Dalia (crafted by Alejandro without Elizabeth's prior knowledge), which apologizes for the past grievances and extends forgiveness for the affair. Touched by the gesture, Dalia agrees to return the painting.

In a subsequent session with Khalil, Alejandro aids a Spanish-speaking woman in arranging to have her documents sent directly to the office, as she does not reside at her own home. Impressed by his diligence, Khalil proposes that Alejandro consider a paralegal position, which could help secure his visa.

Alejandro faces a hurdle when he tries to expedite the shipping of the paintings due to an account overdraft of more than $400. Despite his pleas during a call with a bank representative, depicted metaphorically as Alejandro struggling under a pile of rocks, his efforts are unfruitful. Back at his apartment, he finds out through a friend of Spray that Hasbro is launching the smartphone-equipped Cabbage Patch Kids he once suggested, but his attempts to contact the company go unanswered.

In need of funds, Alejandro reluctantly accepts a peculiar Craigslist gig he had been avoiding: performing cleaning duties in the nude for a client with a specific fetish. After completing the task, which includes an intimate encounter with the client, Alejandro receives his payment despite an uncomfortable attempt to initiate a kiss.

Subsequently, an infuriated Elizabeth contacts Alejandro for failing to sort Bobby's archives on FileMaster. She decides that Bingham will conclude the task. However, Alejandro receives unexpected news from a Roosevelt Island art gallery, which offers to host a last-minute solo exhibition for Bobby's artwork. Elizabeth, dissatisfied with the gallery's prestige, initially reacts negatively and lashes out at Alejandro. He reminds her of her notorious reputation in the art scene as “The Hydra,” a nickname Bobby alluded to, implying that solving one issue with her only leads to more. Despite her reluctance, Alejandro convinces Elizabeth to agree to the exhibition.

The following day, while transporting the artwork to the gallery via tramway, Elizabeth realizes they have forgotten the “Blue Egg on Yellow Satin” painting at the station. Her outburst forces the tram operator to return so she can retrieve the artwork.

Upon their arrival at the gallery, Alejandro and Elizabeth are disappointed to see that the space allocated for Bobby's artworks is too small to accommodate all thirteen paintings. Alejandro quickly mediates to prevent Elizabeth's outburst, persuading her to allow the extra paintings to be showcased in a different location, preserving the integrity of Bobby's exhibition. The paintings are successfully sold, and afterward, Elizabeth shares a personal moment with Alejandro, revealing her concerns about her relationship with Bobby once he is revived.

Following this, Alejandro speaks with Dolores, optimistic about having found a sponsor. Shortly after, he receives an extensive voicemail from Elizabeth, in which she declares her intention to undergo cryogenic freezing to join Bobby in the future. She concludes her message by advising Alejandro to contact a Hasbro employee to address the misappropriation of his toy concept and to assert his rights. The urgency of the situation is symbolized by an hourglass bearing Alejandro's name rapidly depleting.

Taking action, Alejandro confronts Brian Kissane (Miles G. Jackson) at Hasbro, the executive who approved the Cabbage Patch Kids project. He threatens to disclose proof that the concept was originally his unless Brian agrees to offer him employment, sponsorship, and proper acknowledgment for his idea. Left with no alternative, Brian agrees. Jubilant, Alejandro and Dolores set out to develop new toy concepts together.

The narrative propels us more than three centuries ahead, where FreezerCorp is reviving everyone for a reintroduction ceremony to the future. Elizabeth remains irascible, and Bobby appears less than enthusiastic about their new reality. During the event, Elizabeth gripes to the bartender about being served before the conclusion of the opening remarks. It's then that an aged Alejandro (Carlos Navedo), who had himself cryogenically preserved not long prior, spots her and begins to approach. He's recognized by someone as the creator of the renowned toy series, “My Little Problems”. Upon seeing Alejandro, Elizabeth's immediate reaction is to berate him about the disarrayed databases. However, Alejandro reassures her that he mastered FileMaster and that the databases are in order. Elizabeth is taken aback as she gazes at her longtime acquaintance, while the narrator encapsulates the journey, illustrating that Alejandro did indeed face the world boldly, clad in blue, confronting the metaphorical monster directly.