Miguel, the arrogant newspaper columnist at the center of “Madrid, 1987,” has spent decades building up a tough outer shell. Pompous, calloused, dismissive, he’s a parade float begging for a hole to be poked in it. That comes in the form of a would-be acolyte, Angela, and a malfunctioning door lock in this sweet, sometimes dull and certainly overlong film, written and directed by David Trueba. Miguel (José Sacristán) has been spouting literary analogies and trite aphorisms long enough that he believes them; Mr. Sacristán gives him equal measures of confidence and tediousness. But Miguel is lovably smug: when an autograph seeker interrupts his squiring of Angela (María Valverde), he signs her paper, “For Sonia, who has lousy timing.” Before long, he and Angela retreat to an apartment nearby, where the faulty door traps them in the bathroom, disrobed but not entangled.
That’s how they remain for most of the film (covering about a day’s worth of action) with one towel and boatloads of mutual suspicion between them. Angela — in Miguel’s mind just a target — is soft but not pliant, largely letting Miguel fill the air with lectures and, eventually, regrets. He sags. She glows. Everything is mildly sooty, as if the camera lens needed a wipe. On the one hand, this is an allegory about generational misunderstanding set at a moment when Spain was still emerging from the shadows of the Franco dictatorship. On the other, it’s about how easy it is to strip people down to their core, and how relieved they’ll be if you do. Only occasionally do Miguel and Angela try to escape — this is the one fate they share.
1.41GB | 1h 40m | 1021×552 | mkv