You can tell exactly what Michael Rowe is trying to achieve here, and the fact that he stumbles leaves one almost as fundamentally frustrated at the conclusion as his protagonist.
The location and the situation are both promising, though the director is immediately working too hard to extract some symbolic juice from the former.
A prize-winning novelist called Armando from CDMX undertakes a day trip to Altata in Sinaloa alongside his wife in order to visit an old university friend of hers plus her husband — a man called Neto, whom Armando barely recalls from a gathering four years previously.
Soon Neto and Armando have peeled away from their wives and are chatting like old buddies on the beach below the former's groundswell-threatened condo (set within a development beside the Pacific not entirely unlike Juan Gaviota here in Guatemala).
Neto's teenage daughter has a local 'morenita' friend from the village called Danyka that her father regards as potential trouble. Armando gets to meet her and while father and daughter frolic in the waves, allows himself to be gently manipulated by the 15-year-old into joining her on a tour of an abandoned, half-built hotel. She's a kite surfing champion, an avid reader of fine literature and, she claims, a budding novelist herself.
So, that's the set up. If what follows is to touch us in any meaningful way, the part between it and the moment Armando's wife hands him back his copy of Hesse's Siddharta needs to be implemented with greater care overall.
It doesn't help that the the casting is just a little bit out. Both Damián Bichir and Sasha González are playing characters perhaps significantly younger than they themselves are and the poster rather cynically makes them appear more youthful than either does in the movie itself.