Summary: A single-father named Uxbal (Javier Bardem) takes care of his two children as he is separated from their mother, Marambra (Maricel Álvarez), because of her reckless ways. She suffers from alcoholism and bipolar disorder and is too irresponsible in her nature to be trusted to take care of her children. The stressful home life Uxbal tries to balance with his work life, which is to find work for illegal immigrants, adds only more heavy burdens onto his already tired shoulders. Able to speak with the dead, he sometimes attends funerals to pass on messages to the family of the recently deceased. After being diagnosed with terminal cancer Uxbal can see his own death in the future which now guides every moves he makes.
My review: The only other film I had seen of Alejandro’s before watching this was Babel and this was as equally spellbinding. Javier’s performance is masterful and I really felt his character’s modest need for peace in his life. As with Babel, and now other films I’ve seen by the same director, there’s a common feeling of the film being a open window into a person (or person’s) life, which can hit you quite powerfully. Although not an enjoyable film in the sense it brings you happy feelings, it is dark, gritty but above all realistic.