Second adaptation of the novel by Uruguyan Mario Benedetti is a glossy soaper (the first was Argentinean) that manages to maintain its integrity, literary and otherwise, by dint of pure star power. Convincing, if conventional, April-October romance reps a solid career consolidator for distinguished thesp Gonzalo Vega (45 pics since 1969) as a widower reborn through love. It also offers a star-making turn for Adriana Fonseca, as the very young woman who works magic on him — despite her own shadowed future. Pic is too slick to appeal to offshore arthouse crowds, but remake possibilities seem rife.The Gulf Coast town of Vera Cruz is used to highly appealing effect — if you can accept a Mexican city with no dirt, poverty, or pollution in this well-constructed weeper, which finds an otherwise solid family falling apart. Its gentle patriarch (Vega), drifting past middle age, is just about ready to retire when offered the No. 2 job at the big shipping concern where he’s the top accountant. At the same time, new secretary Laura (Fonseca, resembling a younger, sweeter J-Lo) rekindles dormant feelings and prompts him to pay more attention to his kind-hearted, college-student daughter (Maite Embil, a niece to singer Placido Domingo) and two sons, all caught in their own problems.
The older boy (Arath de la Torre) is a cynical, gel-haired hustler, dabbling in local corruption, who angrily picks on younger, homosexual brother (memorably effective Rodrigo Vidal), making this an interesting programming choice at gay fests, too. Plot resolutions are heartfelt and satisfying, and orchestral score adds nicely old-fashioned touches to a deeply humanist entertainment.