When Nelson persuaded Marcela his girlfriend to move from Bolivia to Madrid he promised her a life full of roses. Literally. His dream was to set up their own Florist shop and make their fortune and live happily ever after. The reality is that they hire a team of scavengers to raid the town's garbage dump for discarded half-dead flowers that they wash and titivate and then re-sell. They operate the ‘business’ from their small shabby apartment and the flowers 'cold store' is their refrigerator.
Marcela has had enough both of this life and of Nelson, and at the start of the movie we see her packing up her few possessions and writing a ‘Dear John’ note for Nelson and setting off for the bus stop and a new life. However she faints at the stop and is taken to hospital where she is horrified to discover that she is pregnant. Not that she wants the baby, but it is reason enough to put her escape on hold and so she reluctantly heads back home.
The refrigerator has broken and as this is essential for the flower business they must buy a new one. The trouble is that they are totally penniless so cannot even afford the down payment, so Nelson persuades Marcela to take on a paying job. The one she finds is caring for Amador a bed-ridden elderly man whose daughter wants to take off and get busy with her own life. Her function is to feed him, wash him and just keep him company throughout the day.
Amador and Marcela are wary of each other at first; both are subdued and quiet souls, but soon a bond of sorts grows. Amador senses that Marcela is pregnant even though she has not started to show yet, or even mentioned it to anyone (including Nelson, and he tells her that as he is not much longer for this world, and that the baby can take the spot he is vacating.
And then he dies. Which rather throws Marcela somewhat as she desperately needs the job to keep making the payments on the refrigerator. So without telling a soul she continues her daily routine as if nothing has happened and keeps the dead body company. Soon a nosey neighbor is complaining about the smell, and so a panicking Marcela confides in Amador's only regular visitor, a middle-aged hooker that comes every Thursday to give him 'some relief'.
This very gentle film that unnecessarily draws the story out a little too much with its constant close ups of Marcela not doing much more than thinking, has a very twists to its plot (especially at the end) that make it far from predictable and quite intriguing. Some of the symobolism such as the references to mermaids and the real meaning of flowers are a tad too obvious and don't particulary enhance the movie, but that said, it’s still an enjoyable wee film.
This movie never saw the insides of many movie theaters but is now available on DVD.