I actually really liked this movie, despite its melodramatic points. I was pretty compelled the whole way through. Obviously there are aspects of it that I found less believable than others, ie when Susanita and the twenty- six year old guy get married. That part just seemed so middle aged woman dream coming true thing that doesn't really happen very often in reality. I did like it when he responded "sure" in his sleazy way, though.
I was very impressed that this movie talked about homosexuality from the standpoint of an abusive middle aged married man. I also initially thought this movie was from the 80s, until I realized it was from 1995, but nonetheless, Mexican culture is very patriarchal and very Catholic, thus much less tolerant of homosexuality than, say, Canada, where gay marriage is legal and gay men have a much less difficult set of walls to tear down, metaphorically. This aspect of the movie made me respect it a lot more, and I also found the whole situation entirely believable. The use of drugs made this movie feel more real to me, as well.
I liked how hot and cold the father ran, not that it made me like the character for it, but I found him very realistic. Much of the time when asshole self-righteous characters are depicted in film, writers have a tendency to show them as very black and white, one-sided. But the fact that the father became so enraged when he felt betrayed and showed no vulnerability, but still simultaneously loved his grandson added more depth to his character.
There was a little bit of overacting, but it was a very dramatic movie, so somehow it fit, even though generally I can't stand overacting. In terms of this movie as a cultural depiction, I enjoyed the view of the city street that we see interspersed through the film, I thought that was a good motif, because it showed how a street in Mexico actually looks. The fact that Alma felt like her only options of a future were prostitution or marrying rich felt very real and very tragic. I'm not sure if this film was as much a societal commentary, as much as it was about human relationships and the endurance of love.