An international cast of beauties brings cosmopolitan flavor to what could have been a typical melodrama. Adapted from the best-selling novel by Peruvian author Jaime Bayly, LA MUJER DE MI HERMANO (English translation--MY BROTHER'S WIFE) is a soap-operatic tale, complete with adulterous transgressions, hysterical breakdowns, devastating betrayals, and a shocking finale. Stunning Uruguayan actress Barbara Mori is the focal point of this Byzantine affair, entrancing viewers with her nuanced performance as Zoe. In the tradition of those Douglas Sirk heroines who made it a gorgeous act to suffer quietly, Zoe is wildly unhappy and frustrated with her dying marriage to Ignacio (Peruvian soap star Christian Meier). Not content to remain isolated in her high-class Mexico city apartment--a stylishly cold fortress of minimalist design and shiny surfaces--Zoe seeks out Ignacio's estranged brother Gonzalo (Colombian hunk Manolo Cardona). A volatile artist, Gonzalo is a man of sensations and extremes, thus serving as the perfect antidote to Zoe's dull, stale life. The two strike up the inevitable passionate affair, but what follows is as unexpected as the set-up is standard. Zoe's transgression leads not only to her debilitating Catholic guilt, but also to a revived relationship between the brothers, whose new communication brings a startling revelation about the past.
Peruvian director Ricardo de Montreuil leads this production with a sure hand, eliciting performances more complex than in the typical soap opera. Though it can veer toward slightly over-the-top melodrama, the film is too intelligently written and acted to be passed off as fluff, and instead is a serious, deep look into the eternal problems of love, sexuality, and betrayal.