Perfect Strangers (Perfectos Desconocidos)

Movie review by
Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media
Perfect Strangers (Perfectos Desconocidos) Movie Poster Image
Spanish-language dramedy deals with lots of adult topics.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 104 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Acceptance is promoted; homophobia is frowned upon. While honesty is held up as a virtue, it's also portrayed as something that can be destructive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

One of the women is highly intelligent, though brittle and dishonest. Another is empathetic. One of the men is a very good father -- and a good man all around. Another is a harmless good guy with a secret. Almost everyone has harmful secrets.


A woman slaps her husband's face. Mention of a fatal accident.


Sexual themes and content throughout. Several affairs are explored, and a couple has non-graphic sex after some groping/making out. Topics including teen sexuality/virginity, sexting, virtual affairs. Body parts are discussed.


Spanish-language dialogue is cleaned up a little in English subtitles -- e.g., "maricón," an anti-gay slur, is softened to "homosexual" in subtitles. "Ass" is the only profanity used.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Extensive wine drinking at an adult dinner party; one attendee seems to have a drinking problem. She also sneaks a drink before coming to the party and douses herself in tequila during it. Mention of a fatal DUI incident.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Perfect Strangers (Perfectos Desconocidos) is a mature Spanish-language dramedy that takes place during a dinner party for longtime friends that involves the unearthing of deep, dark secrets via mobile phone eavesdropping. Expect a little profanity ("ass," plus some Spanish words such as the homophobic slur "maricón," which is softened for the English subtitles) and plenty of discussion of adult material, principally sex and sex-related topics (body parts, teen sexuality and virginity loss, sexting, virtual affairs, etc.). A couple has non-graphic sex after some groping/making out. Characters also drink wine extensively during the party, and a fatal DUI incident is mentioned. The cast of Mexican stars includes Bruno Bichir, Cecilia Suárez, and Manuel García Rulfo.

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What's the story?

In PERFECT STRANGERS (PERFECTOS DESCONOCIDOS), three 40-something couples and a divorcée, all longtime friends, agree to play a game in which they can eavesdrop on any communications received that night on one another's mobile phones. Not particularly surprisingly, deep, dark secrets are revealed. The film is the Mexican remake of a 2016 Italian comedy that's already been remade several times, including in France, Turkey, Greece, China, and Spain. Bruno Bichir, Cecilia Suárez, and Manuel García Rulfo co-star.

Is it any good?

This Mexican dramedy is talky and stagy, with revelations popping up at the usual intervals; it's also sophisticated, with nimble banter and occasionally good chemistry among the cast. (Depending on viewers' ages and frames of reference, it's likely to evoke the likes of The Big Chill or Tyler Perry's oeuvre, for better or worse.) But you have to wonder why people with such closely held secrets -- sure to be exposed by the game -- would agree to play. Each of the couples has clear issues from the start, making it sometimes unpleasant to be around them. Imagine being at a dinner party with three couples who are close to each other but whom you don't know and who have no hesitation about bickering in front of you.

However, it's easy to see why this film has been remade so many times in such a short span, as it's the kind of dialogue-heavy piece that actors love -- and a challenge for directors to make "cinematic." This iteration only partially meets that challenge. Still, there are moments when the camaraderie feels real, and a couple of scenarios command attention. In one, as everyone listens, a loving father must give his daughter good advice as she considers losing her virginity. In another, mistaken identity unearths buried prejudices within the group, and one member is forced to see the effect of such bigotry from an unexpected side. Otherwise, Perfectos Desconocidos feels familiar and pat, even a bit on the telenovela side. Perhaps its most interesting aspect is its ending (no spoilers here), which could prompt some thoughtful discussion.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the adult themes in Perfect Strangers. Were they realistically explored? Did they make you uncomfortable? Did you find anything discussed surprising?

  • Have you seen other movies like this one, in which a group of friends learns deep, dark secrets about each other? What are some examples? Did the setting and staging feel natural to you?

  • Would you ever play a game like this with friends? What are some ways to help protect your privacy on your mobile phone?

  • How is drinking portrayed in the movie? Is it glamorized? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedies and dramas

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