Plot: Walter Mercado dazzled a global audience of over a hundred million viewers each day, putting on a show of fashion, charisma, but then he seemed to vanish and his fans were left in the dark. Mercado started out in the entertainment world as an actor and after he performed a brief segment on a news program about the astrological signs, he was soon making daily appearances. Before long, Walter was not just a staple of television, he was a genuine star. He would don over the top, memorable outfits that rivaled even Liberace, while delivering messages of hope and love to his viewers, through his astrological interpretations. Mercado would then sign off with his signature exit of “mucho mucho amor,” bidding them farewell until tomorrow. But why did Mercado disappear from not just his television work, but seemingly the entire world in a flash?
Entertainment Value: Netflix has given us some great documentaries about wild, colorful people and Mucho Mucho Amor continues that proud tradition. Walter Mercado is indeed a larger than life presence and this piece never fails to have one interesting turn after another. Mercado is a wonderful subject for such a documentary, as much of his career was captured on camera, giving us a chance to explore his work from the start until his eventual exit. Seeing how Mercado evolved over the course of his career adds a lot to the documentary experience, seeing how he ran with the opportunities he was given and how his wardrobe would get more outrageous over time. The visual aspect of Mucho Mucho Amor alone is enough to recommend the movie, to soak in Walter’s eye popping ensembles and his unique decorating sense, both of which are omnipresent in this piece. I had fun just looking at all the creative and outlandish outfits, as even the most over the top clothes seemed natural on Mercado. An audience of one hundred and twenty million people rallied behind him and it is easy to see why, as Walter is a one of a kind character that is impossible to forget.
I would have been fascinated by Mucho Mucho Amor if it had just been a retrospective look at Mercado’s remarkable life and career, but the documentary also devotes time to his mysterious disappearance from the public eye. This is where the movie takes on an almost true crime element, as we learn there is a dark side to Mercado’s fate and that adds a fresh spin on the entertainer. While not as in depth or shocking as some of the true crime twists out there, Mercado’s struggle to retain control over his career and even his own image is quite interesting, I think. That specific thread also allows us to see the more vulnerable and human side of Mercado, rather than the spectacle shown in his television performances. I think it adds a lot to both the documentary as entertainment and our grasp of Mercado’s persona. Mucho Mucho Amor was a pleasure to watch and I’d recommend it to anyone who appreciates documentaries or stories about colorful, one of a kind people.