We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Success! You're on the list.

The title of this Spanish drama means “alone,” but “alone together” might be a more appropriate tag for Benito Zambrano’s tale of loneliness in close proximity. Looking a little too glamorous for her life as an alcoholic cleaning woman, María (Ana Fernández) lives friendlessly in Seville; she has a lover, but he’s a creep, and their relationship is purely sexual. Then María’s mother, Rosa (María Galiana), comes to stay with her daughter when Rosa’s abusive husband (who’s also María’s estranged father) is brought to the city for emergency surgery. The nice widower downstairs (Carlos Alvarez-Novoa) develops a crush on Rosa, but her response to him is more maternal than erotic. (As if to illustrate, the movie has Rosa clean up the old man after an attack of diarrhea.) The older woman is taken with the neighbor’s gentility, but of course she must stay with her brutal husband. Perhaps, however, the lonely neighbor can play a role in María’s life, especially now that the younger woman is pregnant. Zambrano’s style is terse and unflowery, and the performances are assured, but ultimately the film seems a bit of a cheat: In its final minutes, the central characters—despite being psychically destroyed or despairing—find their way to a cozy domestic arrangement. —Mark Jenkins