An Unexpected Love (‘El Amor Menos Pensado’)

ROMANTIC COMEDY; 2hr 5min (Spanish with subtitles)

STARRING: Ricardo Darín, Mercedes Morán

Couples therapy: Morán and Darín

An empty nest can’t help but feel forlorn, even for those parents with vibrant lives outside it. Marcos and Ana (Darín and Morán) fit that bill: Argentinian professionals on shifting ground after their son Luciano (Andres Gil) leaves home to study in Spain. Marcos is sanguine about this new stage in the game, his wife somewhat less so. But while Ana is struggling, her sense of loss is more diffuse: “I miss him, but I don’t know if that’s the problem with me.”


As Luciano’s absence becomes a catalyst for a confrontation with the ageing process—and with it, the lulling comforts of a 25-year marriage—Marcos and Ana take stock of their cosy partnership and decide to separate in the name of liberation. Now they’re officially free to Tinder-test the limits of passion, but freedom in your fifties isn’t for the faint of heart.


The two play their dating games, dallying and committing over months and years. Their learning curves take different forms, but one thing Marcos, Ana and everyone they encounter loves to do in writer-director Juan Vera’s verbose charmer is talk. These characters could sound off underwater, about everything from the inconvenience of a thoughtlessly uncapped toothpaste tube to the meaning of their navel-gazing lives. That’s okay, though: Darin and Morán are a breeze to hang out with, even if they do take their own sweet, self-questioning time to get where they were always going to go.