One day in school, Gonzalo decides to not take a test given his class; upon going home, he announces to his mother Ana that he's not leaving his room. Ana works for an NGO that deals with refugees; one of her clients is Carlos, a Cuban exile who gets by selling black-market cigars and artworks. Carlos brings Mikel, just released from prison, to Ana's house so that he can teach Gonzalo how to play chess — and possibly get him to start living again. Each of these characters faces an actual or emotional barrier they know they have to get past in order for their lives to go on in any meaningful way. Cuenca's beautifully crafted screenplay, co-written with Alejandro Hernandez, deftly moves from story to story, creating at times parallels and ironies that we recognize long before his characters. Like other films that employ multiple storylines, there's a sense that the film emphasizes the randomness of modern life, but for Cuenca it is a succession of chances and opportunities his characters must muster the courage to take.