Strawberry & Chocolate (1993) from Tuna

Strawberry & Chocolate (1993) is a Cuban comedy/drama about a sophisticated gay man, his suicidal female confident, and an idealistic university student.

As the film opens, the student is in a sleazy hotel room with his girlfriend, who has evidently agreed to lose her virginity, but then, after stripping, convinces him with a crying jag to wait for the wedding. He waits, and she marries someone else for wealth and position.

The gay man, a free thinker, radical, and patron of the arts, hits on the student at a cafe. He tricks the student into his apartment and eventually scares him off, but the student's roommate convinces him that he owes it to the party to get close to the gay man in order to discover what criminal behavior he is up to. For the rest of the film, the gay man educates the student about things like friendship, open-mindedness and tolerance, and the woman finally introduces him to sex. In a way, this is also a coming of age film.


  • Marilyn Solaya, as the first girlfriend, shows breasts in the opening scene
  • We see an unknown woman having sex from the front as the student peeps through a hole in the wall at the next room.

I enjoyed it on so many levels. All of the lead characters were likable. It provided a fascinating glimpse into Cuban society and the different ways for the human spirit to survive it. Although the characters were a little larger than life, what happened to them seemed very real.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus: three and a quarter stars. Ebert 3.5/4, Berardinelli 3/4.

  • It was nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film, and won a host of international awards.

The People Vote ...

  • It grossed $2 million in arthouse distribution
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a B-. Excellent film. In Spanish with subtitles.

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