An unusual ghost story set on the Peruvian seaside; a married fisherman struggles to reconcile his devotion to his male lover within his town's rigid traditions.
Miguel (Played by Bolivian actor Christian Mercado) is a fisherman living in a small village where he has a pregnant wife and a family. His community of friends and family is what keeps him going and he thinks life is perfect - That is until Santiago (played by Manolo Cardona) comes visiting the small town and Miguel's perfect life goes spiralling out of control.
Where to start with this movie. You know when television stations have this thing where they give you a free preview for a month so you can check out some of their stations and after the month if you don't sign up they take the station away? I was lucky enough to have OUT TV for a little while at my place and one night I scrolling through the channel and noticed a movie was starting. I left it where it was on the channel and tuned in to this movie. I didn't know the actors and the movie was in Spanish. Even though I do speak some Spanish I was thankful the movie had subtitles. The moment the movie began I was sucked in. It started out giving a view of life in a small village and everything (the good and the bad) that comes with it. Miguel seems happy at first but as you pay closer attention you see just how miserable he is and when he and Santiago get together, it just proves to him and the viewers what happiness is for he
Even though life sucks, Miguel manages to carve out a routine - he'd spend some time with Santiago, basking in real love with this man, laughing and critiquing Santiago's art. Then he'd go home and cater to his wife who soon becomes pregnant. He fights to be a family man, to hide his gay secret from the people he surrounds himself with and to be happy. Then Santiago dies and Miguel suddenly have the perfect boyfriend--well aside from the death bit. He can walk down the street with Santiago and hold hands with him for only he can see Santiago. But Santiago's death doesn't make life any easier for their love. If anything, death merely complicates it. To make matters worse, they enter Santiago's place and found naked artwork of Miguel littering the place.
This movie was heartbreaking. It shows what happens when you want to be true to who you are and what you are but life just doesn't want to corporate. When you force someone to play inside a box that doesn't fit them it can lead to madness and when the smoke clears everyone and everything would be destroyed. There is such a poignant love story in this movie, a love that transcends death and mortality. It didn't matter that the true love was between two men your heart will just sob for them. There is such misery in losing a life you believe is yours and no one else's.
And when the person you love isn't the person society thinks you should love, what happens when the love Society endorses find out about the other? Do you fight for what society wants or what you want? Do you fight to save face and break your own heart or fight to do what's right for someone who, at least for a moment--however fleeting, gave you the best moments of your life and loved you more than you ever thought possible or could ever understand?
Undertow is a brilliantly written, wonderfully acted and the music--perfection. If you're looking to a movie that rewards you for watching and feeds you in ways you've given up on movie ever doing in these days of remakes and superhero fluff, this movie will do it.
Oh and have a box of kleenex or two handy, you are SO going to need it.