CINEMA: FRESH OFF THE BOATLIFT

MARISA TOMEI, AS A HURRICANE OF ENERGY FROM CUBA, HELPS MAKE THE PEREZ FAMILY A DELIGHTFUL, UNEXPECTED TREAT

A man languishes for 20 years in a cruel dictator's prison. A wife passes that time in exile, faithfully awaiting his return. We know what's supposed to happen when he's released: a period of adjustment (serio or comic, according to taste) and then a triumphant assertion of true love's unconquerable power.

That's life according to the movies and the rest of a pop culture devoted to offering us emotionally reassuring clichas on a weekly basis. (A good current example is My Family, another immigrant saga, in which any seasoned moviegoer can foretell the fate of every character the minute he or...

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