Jennifer Lopez stays true to her Latino roots in a stunning portrayal as the wife of Salsa king Héctor Lavoe (September 30, 1946 – June 29, 1993). She is definitely up against it with him. His drug use, violence and infidelities are all shown in a true graphic manner and Lopez’s character Nilda "Puchi" Roman in turns loves and hates him and even gets involved in her own drug taking much to the amusement of Lavoe.
She also has to deal with the musical fights between Lavoe and his great collaborator Willie Colón. It is a terrible thing to see a person with pure talent get mixed up in drugs and apparently Lavoe started in 1979 after suffering from terrible depression and the deaths of his son, father and mother in law. He was previously involved with Carmen Castro.
Later on he gets AIDS from sharing needles and he is just about finished, but Puchi tires to help him and it is here that we see Lopez’s Latino character and fortitude portrayed quite sensationally and emotionally on the screen. The Latino temperament is full of drama, fury, love, heated words and voices and spontaneity.
This is not a life story or movie that can have a happy end and this is where Lopez really shines as the woman who tries to help. She depicts what it was like living with this man and it is not through rose-colored glasses.
Sure it is a cliché but this is a tortured portrayal of two people destined to meet, change musical history and destined to suffer. The film has been criticized for it’s drug use and violence but guess what folks? This is what REAL life is for these people. Lavoe left a great musical legacy yet paid the ultimate price for it and so did Lopez’s character Puchi.
Making a movie is far from easy and there is always the matter of safety on and off set. This was made evident when a fire started under Jennifer Lopez’s star trailer during filming. It apparently was caused by faulty electrical wiring under the trailer and was quickly extinguished. All grist to the mill for a fiery and terrific portrayal by Latino actor Jennifer Lopez.