Time Out says
Coming across like a homage to the kind of pulp melodramas Hollywood was producing at the time (‘A Star Is Born’ especially), the epic sweep of Trueba’s heart-tugging story is anchored in Mariscal’s gorgeous cityscapes: pre-Castro Havana is a cosy tangle of mottled wood and Tropicana rhythms, while the towering skyscrapers of New York and the sprawling soundstages of Hollywood emphasise just how far – artistically and emotionally – our lovers have come.
The music binds the film and gives it a special cachet: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Chano Pozo and Ben Webster make cameos, and their jazz styles are fondly emulated by Cuban pianist Bebo Valdés. Even Wim Wenders pops up during the epilogue while forming the Buena Vista Social Club. There are moments when a surfeit of in-the-know references tend to overshadow the romance – but you’ll find it too charming to care.