Alícia just can't communicate with husband Miguel. She nevertheless forces him to put up with their teenage son Lluís' eccentricities, and accumulating pets from shelters is just one of them. Lluís doesn't talk much either, but at least his mother manages to connect with him. María, Miguel's mother suffers from Alzheimer's and husband Roberto is finding it hard to cope - he's generally foul tempered and wants to commit suicide. Ignored by his family, Miguel is drawn to the new housemaid Ana, and when Alícia wants some time off and asks Miguel to leave, he embarks on an affair with Ana. Add to this, Alícia's sister, a single mum, also has serious issues with her young daughter. Everybody wants to change, but find it easier to be in denial than face the truth.
The DVD extras include some deleted scenes which give us additional insight into the characters, but the final cut is still good as it is.
The performances by all the actors are excellent; beautiful as ever Emma Suárez who plays unhappy housewife Alícia is melancholy personified, Geraldine Chaplin who plays the ailing María doesn't say a single word, but is as convincing a portrayal as can be. Ana the migrant maid is played very well by gorgeous Martina García, one can see her maturing into a very serious actress. But the best performance had to be from Eduard Fernández, who plays beleaguered husband Miguel with admirable restraint. The cinematography is of very high calibre, but it is the exquisite screenplay and direction by Agustí Vila above all else, that makes this film a gem. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!
Amazon DVD Link
Compilation: Emma Suárez and Martina García
- Alícia, now separated, gets flirty with Sergi at a small party she'd organised for son Lluís' birthday. Later at night, a sleepless Alícia sneaks into the room where she thought Sergi was, only to realise that it's her son Lluís sleeping there. Embarrassed at first, she manages to find Sergi. More embarrassment as they get discovered by Lluís (and the dog) the following morning. :)
- Channel hopping Sergi shows his immaturity when he calls Alícia a whore, much to her shock. He practically molests her afterwards.
- Miguel, separated, meets Ana who's now jobless, and invites her to his hotel after giving her some money. She feels compelled to repay him for the kindness. Just watch the rest as it requires no explaining.
- There's only a brief nip-slip in this long scene but very interesting nevertheless and filled with wry humour as Miguel, in denial of his own nature, behaves like a righteous old fart, and wants to convince Ana that he's looking for something more than a brief physical fling. At the restaurant, when she asks if they could go back to the hotel room, he suggests instead, "no, let's go outside and look at the stars".