This film has been around for a number of years, and has managed to invite a wide range of views as to the quality of message and production. On both counts, I think the movie, as opposed to the book, struck out. Because the sound track and the translation from Spanish to English was poor to start with, much of the important dialogue between the Cuban poet, Reinaldo Arena, and his compatriots was hard to follow. Thus, any appreciation for what ideologically drove this group of dissidents to oppose the Castro Revolution during the sixties and seventies, other than their sexual preference, was lost to the story. Not enough focus was placed on how this community of writers resisted a harsh regime other than they openly flaunted their homosexuality as a reminder to Castro that they were conducting their own counter-revolution in the name of freedom. The plot line is a little stretched out in places to the point of being disconnected. The viewer follows Arenas' life from childhood to student to poet to political detainee to being a 'stateless' political refugee in New York City. Over the course of his hell-bent-for-leather life, Arenas writes scads of poetry which never seems to surface in the film, cavorts with numerous sexual partners who remain somewhat anonymous and, eventually, flees to America as a political outcast to ultimately die from AIDS. Yes, there are funny moments along the way when Arenas, in his jaunty and satirical manner, makes fools of a reactionary regime but nothing that seems to really raise the struggle to heroic heights. If the overarching theme is supposed to involve the struggle for freedom from a ruthless regime, there is only scant evidence that it ever made inroads with the strong Cuban machismo. Javier Bardem, as usual, does a fine job playing Arenas but I don't think it is enough to overcome the lack of cohesion and purpose throughout the production.