Film Review: Tales of an Immoral Couple

Fated-to-be-mated Mexican couple eventually win each other, as well as audience hearts, in this breezy summer idyll.
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Their expulsion for misbehavior from Catholic school forever marked teenage star-crossed Martina (Ximena Romo) and Lucio (Sebastián Aguirre). Contact between them ended completely (if not the memory of each other), so, 25 years later, when the grown-up pair (played by Cecilia Suárez and Manuel García-Rulfo) happen to meet on a byway of picturesque San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, all they can do is fabricate "non-single/non-loser" backstories for themselves, involving loving partners and kids.

Written and directed by Manolo Caro, Tales of an Immoral Couple basically deals with the characters' having to make good their fibs to each other, while falling in love all over again. If it sounds like nothing new under the sun, what is fresh is the way Caro keeps the couple's uncertain, nostalgia-soaked dance so engaging. He keeps things soufflé-light, making savvy use of the physical beauty of his setting, and his sharp ear for crisp, quirky, character-enhancing dialogue keeps you smiling.

The cast is one of the most attractive on any screen today, all of the actors benefiting greatly from Caro's sensitivity in both in his writing and direction, making this play out like a more grounded version of one of those Eric Rohmer summery romps about nothing much besides romance. The script's construction includes a double narrative in which both past and present Martinas and Lucios simultaneously play out their stories, a potentially lethal screenwriter fillip. The fact that all four actors playing these two roles keep you constantly engaged by their prickly relationship—through all the back-and-forth in time and space—is a real testament to their talent.

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