Marina responds to Rafael’s kindness and makes him feel whole again. They set up house together, cultivating the dream of a normal existence that has eluded them both. Daniel turns up a few years later, when the couple are happily settled with his daughter, Estrella. He has no use for the ties of fatherhood and family, but needs a place to stay. Marina’s deep-rooted bond to the volatile Daniel creates tension, but Rafael endures the situation, not wanting to lose his family.
Based on real characters and events, the sensitive script by director Franco and Angeles Gonzalez Sinde gives credibility to Marina’s love of both men for different reasons, and to the characters’ confusion in facing difficult choices. The tiresome Latino preoccupation with masculinity — Rafael’s castration, Daniel’s being broken by tougher men in prison — is perhaps dramatically antiquated. But the dynamics of the trio shift in interesting ways, particularly when Daniel is released from prison with AIDS, and Rafael cares for him while Marina struggles to accept his impending death.
Franco directs in a sober, unobtrusive style, and aside from occasional overplaying from Molla, the cast is intense and sympathetic.