Synopsis by Mark Deming
Old and new loves are turned upside down through a complex case of mistaken identities in this romantic comedy-drama. In 1980, Juan Raul Perez (Alfred Molina) is released from a Cuban prison after spending 20 years behind bars and is allowed to join a mass emigration to the U.S. While Juan was incarcerated, his wife Carmela Perez (Anjelica Huston) escaped to Florida with their daughter, and Juan lives for the day when they can be reunited. En route to Miami, Juan meets Dottie Perez (Marisa Tomei), a fiery young woman who wants to leave behind her career as a prostitute. Juan and Carmela miss finding each other when his boat reaches Miami, and immigration personnel mistakenly assume that Juan and Dottie Perez are husband and wife; when they learn that families tend to find American sponsors much faster than individuals, they play along with the mistake, even convincing other Perezes to pose as their child and grandfather. Juan discovers that trying to renew an old relationship isn't easy as one tries to start a new life, especially since Carmela has attracted the attentions of police lieutenant John Pirelli (Chazz Palminteri). Cuban jazz legend Arturo Sandoval contributed to the soundtrack.
survivor, immigrant, love, political-prisoner, prison, prostitute/prostitution, reunion