Time Share (Tiempo Compartido)
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Sebsatián Hofmann
Time Share (Tiempo Compartido) introduces Pedro (Luis Gerardo Méndez), who has taken his family—wife Eva (Cassandra Ciangherotti) and son Pedrito, aka Ratón—on vacation to Everfields Resort, in Mexico. All seems well in their rented villa for a few minutes until the authorities arrive with Abel (Andrés Almeida), his wife and two kids. The two families appear to have double-booked the villa due to a clerical error via an Everfields promotion. Abel and resort management happily find compromise in Abel’s camp sharing the villa (i.e., the same living space) with Pedro and his family in exchange for some swimming-pool swag. Pedro, however, is not so keen on the deal and demands that he receive the resort experience he paid for. There are no other rooms available at the resort nor in town, and he is forced to make the compromise.
Meanwhile, Andrés (Miguel Rodarte) and his wife, Gloria (Montserrat Marañón), have worked at the resort for over 20 years. Everfields, an American company, has recently acquired the Mexican resort property, and the organization has taken to promoting and developing Gloria but have left Andrés in the dust, relegated to his laundry role at the company. The couple recently suffered the loss of their only son and trudge through a tepid relationship with each other. The new, Tucson-based property manager (RJ Mitte, Breaking Bad) renders Gloria starry-eyed at the prospects of success at Everfields by selling timeshares. Management denies Andrés opportunities like pitching guests on timeshares and improving his English for more customer interaction in advanced roles. As Gloria becomes more disaffected from their marriage and family binary, Andrés becomes more disgruntled by the resort’s bureaucratic overreaches that tear him and Gloria apart.
Time Share (Tiempo Compartido) intrigues with its elusive screenplay, which alternates between the narratives of Pedro and Andrés. Toggling between the two characters’ experiences helps to evoke the mystery of the resort, whose happy-go-lucky veneer and mantra of “paradise” shines so bright so as to blind its guests from the cult-like sales culture that beats in the heart of the company. Eva and Ratón quickly befriend Abel and his family, to Pedro’s chagrin and growing frustration with having to share a space. Abel gradually moves from calling Pedro his buddy to referring to himself and his family as family to Eva and Ratón. Amid a suspect tennis accident that breaks Pedro’s nose, he quickly wises up from a guy who’s having an unlucky vacation to someone who must keep his family intact in the face of the glitz and glamor of Everields.
The film strings us along by way of its anxious and unnerving emotional dynamics. Awaiting the expected downfalls of Pedro and Andrés while we simultaneously root for them sustains interest in their stories as we anticipate their convergence. The film’s skeletal score pierces through the lovely, vibrant photographic direction, whose combination is mimetic of the central characters’ conflicts between them and their loved ones, who’ve been seduced by the resort and its pawns. Also, frankly, there are some cool shots using reflections from water and liquid, which bears mentioning.
There is a plot hole regarding some conveniently found documents in the film. The story’s timeline feels somewhat inflated, given the intensity of the events that unfold for Pedro. More critically, there feels like there’s a missing payoff as to the innards of the Everfields underbelly. Nonetheless, the acting in Time Share (Tiempo Compartido) propels the film and makes it a worthwhile quasi–psychological thriller. Let’s count Time Share (Tiempo Compartido) as a “go see” for Sundance 2018. –Alexander Ortega