I found this to be a sad movie. I tried watching it a second time but couldn't finish it. Maybe because like Luis, I left my family and friends in my early 20's to seek my future, and like Luis I met my future wife, had three kids, and except for a couple of short visits the first few years, never returned. Also Luis was 67 when he made the documentary, and I was 67 when I saw it.
There are amazing scenes of his days of major league glory and his reunion with his parents who Castro permitted to come see their son play ball. And the one scene of him laughing and happy in Cuba is at the ball game he is there to "coach" as his pretend US team gets trounced by the Cuban team. Otherwise he appears to be a man tiptoeing through a snake pit, on a trip that he feels he must make but which brings him more anguish than pleasure. At one point he says he doesn't know what the reunion will bring, he doesn't know if he should laugh or cry. He seems very uncomfortable with every meeting and conversation. He takes no pleasure in Cuban food or drink or music or scenery. To him it's a graveyard of lost people, family and friends. He had a nice rental van. Why not take his family to the beach for food, and drink and a party. Why not visit some restaurants or even a tobacco plantation. He does none of this. He just sits in the corner and mopes.
Thomas Wolfe said "You can't go home again" and anyone who has tried, knows it is true. You are different and the people and places which have not aged a day in your memory are totally different as well. I would have liked to have seen more of Luis' life here in the states after 1982, when his major league career ended, up to the present day. We are told he has a wife and three children, but the last 25 or so years of his life in the States is never mentioned. Does he now have grand kids, friends and family and a good life in the US? We will never know. It would have presented some (hopefully) happy counterpoints to Luis' mostly anguished reunion with his Cuban family and friends. As it is we are left with a man who "wants to see Cuba before he dies" and does. His family is not told he is coming to Cuba. He tiptoes in and he tiptoes back out. He brings a few modest gifts and gives his family a few dollars and we are left with not much more than his immense sadness.
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