The movie was very rich and colorful and interesting to look at, but I was disappointed.
Arenas was born in Cuba in 1949, and before his death from AIDS in 1990 wrote 9 novels and won many literary awards. Unfortunately, rather than focus on Arenas the writer, "Before Night Falls" focused on Arenas the persecuted homosexual. At the time of the revolution, homosexuals were sent to concentration camps in Cuba to be "rehabilitated," and it didn't take much to be arrested as a homosexual.
The movie showed more scenes of Arenas at the beach than of him writing. We see two scenes of him giving people manuscripts to others who will have them published, but we don't see any of him working at his art.
It reminded me of a couple I know - one was an artist, the other a dancer. They were watching a movie that had dancing in it, and the dancer complained that they never show the people's feet. The artist pointed out that 99% of the movie watching public isn't interested in the technicalities of dance, and therefore the feet aren't the important part. The dancer pouted anyway.
The Pirate thought that the movie was great, and it was only after I expressed my discontent that he realized that it was true - there was not really much "writerliness" in the movie.