joshé’s review published on Letterboxd:
An interesting film by the highly valued Stephen Frears. And it is a shame that it does not take off completely, perhaps due to the paella that the venerable director cooks without excessive tact or affection; crammed with bravas, Frears addresses so many topics at the same time that it does not have a balance, much less a clear and concise conclusion. The issues are merely outlined, homosexuality is treated in an almost epidermal way, the class struggle is treated crudely and history does not close in a satisfactory way.
Instead, all that work is sealed by certain moments that do not end up being as truthful as they should, an overloaded and disproportionate ending, and an argument that advances in locks and ravines during the hour and a half that the tape lasts. All that script would have been needed to be polished a little more. Perhaps then we would have come across a more compact and direct work.
Sex is a clandestine passion. Like love itself in this ungainly, neat film, which oscillates like a pendulum between the prevailing dirt, disaster, resentment, and unconditional love of good friends.