As Luck Would Have It (2011 film)

As Luck Would Have It
La chispa de la vida
Directed by Álex de la Iglesia
Produced by
  • Andres Vicente Gomez
  • Ximo Perez
Written by Randy Feldman
Music by Joan Valent
Cinematography Kiko de la Rica
Edited by Pablo Blanco
  • Al Fresco Enterprises
  • Trivision
  • La Ferme Productions
  • Double Nickel Entertainment
Release dates
  • November 30, 2011 (2011-11-30) (Spain)
Running time
95 minutes
Country Spain
Language Spanish
Box office $529,014[1]

As Luck Would Have It (Spanish: La chispa de la vida) is a 2011 Spanish drama film directed by Álex de la Iglesia. It stars José Sánchez Mota and Salma Hayek. Mota plays an unemployed advertising executive who suffers a potentially life-threatening accident. Deciding to make the most of his predicament, he hires an agent and encourages a media frenzy as he struggles to survive.


Roberto Gómez, a former advertising executive, has been unemployed for several years. Though he is happily married, he is depressed and feels as if he has failed his family. His wife, Luisa, attempts to cheer him up as he leaves for an interview with a former business partner and friend, Javier Gándara. When Roberto arrives, his former co-workers are distant and cold. Gándara tells him that there are no positions available, and Roberto leaves dejected. Remembering that his wife wants to vacation at the hotel where they spent their honeymoon, he impulsively drives off to visit it, only to find that it is now the site of a museum and important archeological dig. As Roberto wanders about the site during an important press event, he panics when he sees security guard Claudio and falls a great distance.

When Roberto discovers that he can not move his head, Claudio tells him that his skull has become impaled upon a spike. Claudio leaves to get help. Mayor Alcalde and museum director Mercedes attempt to delay the inevitable media frenzy, but the reporters eagerly descend upon Roberto once they realize there is a greater story than the archeological dig. Rumors and speculation begin to spread throughout the press, and Roberto's accident is reported as a suicide attempt. Roberto calls Luisa, and an emergency medical technician refuses to move him for fear of causing further injury. When nobody will take responsibility for moving him, they call in an medical doctor, Dr. Velasco. Velasco also refuses to move Roberto, and Mercedes and Alcalde debate how to resolve the situation without damaging either's career.

Due to his failure to provide for his family, Roberto resolves to exploit his situation to make as much money from it as possible. He hires an agent, Johnny, and the two attempt to sell product placements and exclusive interviews. Although Luisa is opposed to her husband's plans, she is unable to talk him out of it. Johnny catches the interest of media executive Álvaro Aguirre, but Aguirre will only pay the sums that Johnny desires if Roberto stays at the site of the accident, as an interview at the hospital is worthless to him. Aguirre offers several million euros for a posthumous interview, but Johnny is not able to convince him to invest the money without a guarantee. Luisa becomes concerned that Roberto is spending too much time on financials and not enough on talk to his family; at her urging, he calls their children and requests that they visit him.

Mercedes offers to cut free the spike, but the others stop her when it becomes obvious that it will only injure Roberto. After deliberating with another physician, Dr. Velasco decides to perform surgery at the site. Before the surgery, Johnny approaches Luisa and tells her of the offer for the posthumous interview. Enraged, she fires Johnny and threatens to attack him if he approaches Roberto again. Roberto, not knowing that she has fired Johnny, inquires as to the progress Johnny has made. Not wanting to upset Roberto, she tells him that Johnny has signed a contract worth hundreds of thousands of euros. Happy to have finally provided for his family financially, Roberto gives a heartfelt interview to Pilar Álvarez, a local television reporter handpicked by Luisa. Álvarez hands the tape to Luisa, knowing that it is worth millions to the proper buyer.

Roberto is lifted from the spike and becomes delirious. Suffering from brain damage, he describes various smells as he bleeds profusely from the wound. Claudio consoles Luisa as she waits for Dr. Velasco's report. Some time later, Dr. Velasco grimly reappears. Roberto's family rush to see him, only to find that he has died during surgery. The crowd, which has swelled greatly during the media frenzy, collectively reacts with dismay, and many of the people cry. Aguirre arrives at the museum and personally offers Luisa several million euros for the tape, which she silently and angrily refuses.



As Luck Would Have It premiered in Spain on 30 November 2011.[2] The international premiere was at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival.[3] IFC Midnight bought US and UK rights in April 2012.[4]


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 40% of five surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 4.6/10.[5] Metacritic rated it 32/100 based on four reviews.[6] Jonathan Holland of Variety called it "an entertaining but unsubtle satire" that "never develops much bite, though it does bare its fangs".[7] David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that "the satire lacks subtlety and bite", and the tone is too even.[8] Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times wrote that it "combines lecture, farce and soapy sentiment in a single misshapen package".[9]


  1. "LA CHISPA DE LA VIDA". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  2. Larrauri, Eva (2011-11-30). "Álex de la Iglesia presenta en Bilbao su nueva película". El Pais (in Spanish). Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  3. Smith, Nigel M. (2011-12-19). "Berlin Announces 10 Titles and 7 Jury Members, Including Jake Gyllenhaal and Charlotte Gainsbourg". Indiewire. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  4. Cox, Gordon (2012-04-25). "IFC Midnight finds 'Luck'". Variety. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  5. "La chispa de la vida (As Luck Would Have It) (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  6. "As Luck Would Have It". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  7. Holland, Jonathan (2012-01-20). "Review: 'As Luck Would Have It'". Variety. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  8. Rooney, David (2012-02-15). "As Luck Would Have It: Berlin Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  9. Catsoulis, Jeannette (2013-02-03). "Unemployed Adman Makes a Deal With His Body". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-18.

External links

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