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Sundance 2018 Review: ‘Time Share’

Sundance 2018 Review: ‘Time Share’

Time Share (Tiempo Compartido), directed by Sebastian Hofmann, is a dark and completely unexpected Mexican drama centered around two patriarchs who come together to save their families from a timeshare nightmare.

As the story begins, we meet Andrés and Gloria, a husband and wife duo looking so in love and vowing to do whatever they need to for their son. Out of nowhere, Andrés has a severe medical issue while coaching sack races and is promptly carried off the field by other referees.

We skip ahead five years and see a commercial for a new resort property, Everfields International Resort. The Alvarez family (Pedro, Eva, and their son Pedrito) settle into their room at the resort, ready for vacation. The family is taking a late night swim when hotel staff arrives to tell them that another family—the Bonillas—has a reservation in the same villa. It’s an uncomfortable situation for all parties involved, and the hotel staff seemingly just wants to try to get to the bottom of it. Eva invites the Bonilla family in so they don’t get eaten alive by mosquitos while trying to sort out this overbooking mystery. Pedro Alvarez and Abel Bonilla willingly go with security to the front desk to see if this matter can be sorted. These events are key, because they are the catalyst that start all of the issues for the Alvarez family.

As the story continues to unfold, we learn that a clean-shaven Andres works in housekeeping at this timeshare resort, while his wife Gloria now works in sales. He and Gloria look more worn, like the stresses of life have changed them and definitely made them less in-sync than we encounter them at the beginning of the film. Publicly, they are applauded for their positive attitudes and hard work…but privately you can tell that there are secrets that lie between them.

The parallels between the two patriarchs become more and more apparent as the story progresses. While Pedro tries to make the most of his vacation, things keep getting worse. Pedro not only gets a broken nose, but his family undergoes some very trying times, with the Bonillas championing to make it work. Andrés is now acutely aware that his wife is using the demise of their marriage in the aftermath of their son Rogelio’s tragic death to sell false dreams at the resort. Still filled with hurt and anger that she has abandoned him and engages him less and less, he stays heavily medicated through his bought of anger and frustration. What ties the two is that the resort is now a source of pain and terrible memories for each of them.

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Once the two men meet, Andrés shares everything, and Pedro immediately blows up. He confronts Gloria and the timeshare, exposing all of their personal records along the way. Two families, both struggling with different tragic events in addition to mental illness, watch their lives unravel further, with Pedro calling Gloria out for abandoning Andrés and driving him mad in the process. In one final act of defiance, Pedro drinks some champagne and spits blood on the family statue on his way out, symbolizing the brokenness his family must now mend due to this awful place.

Overall, the film is great and visually intriguing. There are some beautiful shots and incredible musical scores that help build suspense in key moments. While I wasn’t emotionally invested in parts of the film, it’s a unique take on how big businesses can destroy communities and families in ways that the naked eye may not see. You also leave the film not entirely sure that Andrés wasn’t behind this entire thing altogether. Andres is jealous of his wife’s advancement in the company, that is clear. Perhaps he found a way to expose her, not only to dismantle her career, but also get his family back and advance himself. At the core, you think both men just want their famies back, but it’s arguably much deeper than that. The film sets out to be a thriller that makes you open your mind to what could be a conspiracy that major timeshares might have, and it was wildly successful at that.

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