A warm and charming romantic comedy/drama from Argentina that favours slow-burn and observation over big drama and belly laughs, to a pleasing effect.
The film’s couple, Marcos (Ricardo Darín) and Ana (Mercedes Morán), are intelligent people well aware of the empty nest syndrome, but they’re soon to discover that experiencing it for real is a different story.
As the movie opens, they farewell their grown-up son who is off to study overseas in Madrid. After twenty years of marriage, they still have a good relationship, but Ana especially feels a certain flatness set in now that their only child is gone. Their son was the main reason for Marcos and Ana to stay together, what will keep them together for the next thirty years that stretch ahead looking so very safe and predictable? Reluctantly, Marcos admits to his own dissatisfaction with their lives.
So the two decide to separate, and the movie follows their individual paths over the next three years as Marcos and Ana jump back into the dating pool, with mixed and at times hilarious results. His first date ends disastrously in an ambulance, she has a bizarre encounter with a younger man who keeps a pet iguana. Overall, Ana seems to have a lot more fun exploring her freedom and sexuality while Marcos is more adrift. There’s a lot of soul-searching and conversations with friends and partners as they discover things about themselves and what they really want in life.
The leisurely pace, low-key approach, and the lack of big explosive fireworks that you would almost automatically expect in a break-up movie might make An Unexpected Love feel too sedate to some. Marcos and Ana actually remain on good terms throughout the film, and the tempestuous drama is only found in the background, with Marcos’ friend leading a double life between a wife and a mistress. But I rather appreciated this more subtle and mature look on grown-up love, and both leads are a pleasure to watch.