Film Review: ‘The Empty Hours’

Originally posted on Variety:

A teenage boy looking after a sex motel near Veracruz develops a crush on a woman neglected by her lover in Aaron Fernandez’s infectiously engrossing sophomore feature, “The Empty Hours.” Sparsely plotted yet brimming with unstated longing and superb character development, this subtle, handsomely shot drama features two standout performances that fully justify the weight on the actors’ shoulders. With the right buildup and a growing positive critical consensus, the pic could take advantage of increasing interest in Mexican product not just at fests but in limited arthouse play.

Uncle Gerry (Fermin Martinez) needs some medical issues addressed in the city, so he hands the keys of his rent-by-the-hour seaside motel to 17-year-old nephew Sebastian (Kristyan Ferrer). Told that “the most important thing in this business is discretion,” Sebastian isn’t quite prepared for the solitude — clients tend to avoid interaction, since their assignations are generally illicit — and he’s…

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