In his second successful starring role in 1983, Agustín Gonzalez is a father who runs a wine shop in Madrid, a city under a three-year siege (1936-1939) because the Nationalists forces of Francisco Franco need to take Madrid before the fascist dictator can be installed in power.
The siege has left the Madrileños with very little food, living under the threat of bombs, and worrying about the prospects of defeat. It is the sense of impending disaster, of hunger and deprivation that is oddly missing from this cinematic interpretation of the play by Fernando Fernán Gómez.
The daughter in the family (Victoria Abril) enters into a love affair with a soldier and ends up having a baby, the son (Gabino Diego) is coming of age with the maid - and life seems to go on with all its proverbial ups and downs.
But without the sharp dialogue of the play itself, this film is not as tautly strung, or as convincingly real as the stage production.