I loved the writing, the acting, and the set design.

It’s restrained story-telling. Characters come into the story to serve their purpose and exit. The themes are obvious but they meld into the plot. The dialogue stays modest and true despite the overwhelming feelings of nostalgia, sadness, grief, pain, pride, and love flowing beneath the surface.

The film opens with a brief scene that foretells the story: Antonio Banderas hovers idly beneath the surface of a pool, alone and unbreathing; in his mind he relives an idyllic moment from his childhood with a beauty that can only be appreciated fully years thereafter; revitalized by this inspiration, he emerges back out to the surface.

It’s a mid-life crisis told beautifully. Ravaged by ill health and isolated from what and whom he loves, he grapples with a reason to live, a way to continue in a meaningful way. He looks for ways to cope and descends into self-destruction before reemerging impulsed by his reconciliation with his past. He rediscovers his artistic and personal purpose by embracing the pain and loss that threatened to burst through him.