The desperation of a group of young people living in Cuba is translated in the way some of them want to apply for visas at different friendly embassies, as Ernesto, and his friends, go from one embassy to another seeking the permit to leave the country by a legal way. For that purpose, Ernesto has rehearsed a monologue that he tells the people that interview him, without any positive results.
Ernesto is a man with almost no material possessions. That is why he practically lives in his car, which he parks on a rocky beach near some luxury hotels mainly used by foreign tourists. One of the requisites Ernesto must have in order to go abroad is to have a medical checkup. For that purpose he goes to a clinic where he meets Ana, a doctor, who is only too happy to be of help.
Ana is also a lonely soul that has seen her whole family emigrate to the United States. She has stayed at the empty house by herself. She has liked Ernesto from the start. It is no surprise to see Ana inviting him to stay with her, although their relationship is basically a platonic one. Ana, generous to a fault, ends up selling some of her material possessions to help Ernesto, something he never expected. After all, Ana has fallen in love with Ernesto.
This Cuban film is immensely likable because the politics are not in 'your face', something that doesn't happen with many other features from that country. If anything, "Personal Belongings" makes an acerbic observation at something the citizens of Cuba cannot get freely, resulting in going away illegally in makeshift rafts. Credit to the success of the comedy goes to Alejandro Brugues, an Argentine director, who brings a different dynamic to the situation. Mr. Brugues, who wrote the screen play shows a natural talent for grasping the situation of the country where the action occurs.
Caleb Casas makes a strong case for his Ernesto, a man trying to broaden his horizons where his talents might be recognized. Same could be said of the gorgeous Heidi Garcia, a new face as far as this viewer is concerned, who makes a wonderful impression for the intelligent approach she brought to the role. Both Mr. Casas and Ms. Garcia contribute to the over all enjoyment of this light comedy.
Mr. Brugues will no doubt go to bigger and better things and one could only wish him the best.
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