Jorge Bolivar and his wife Leslie were deeply in love. Their tradition was that each night before they went to bed, Jorge would tell his beautiful wife how much she was loved; and first thing in the morning, he would tell her again. A Cuban exile, Jorge had forged a successful career heading a spirits company. The couple were able to travel, and their marriage was graced by warmth and joy. But there was a crisis looming which brought pain and threatened to bring an end to their happy life together.

Chris Gregory was a fun-loving student at Loyola University. Actor Jason Elordi, who played the role of Chris in Silver Lion Films’ romantic drama 2 Hearts, described him as “the quintessential teenager — charming and frantic and a little bit messy.” Chris’ first serious girlfriend, Samantha, inspired him to be a better student, a better son and a better man. But for Chris, a heart-wrenching medical crisis forced him to examine his values and make some difficult but loving choices.

The two unique love stories, from two different parts of the world and two different eras, are knitted together in Silver Lion Films’ romantic drama 2 Hearts, which opens in theaters this weekend. The story is based on the real-life story of Jorge and Leslie Bacardi, known for their family’s Caribbean-imported Bacardi Rum. The crisis that draws the two families together is unexpected, but their strength as they seek to do God’s will is exemplary.

I talked recently with Lance Hool, the film’s director, and with Mexican actor Adan Canto (X-Men: Days of Future PastDesignated Survivor), who plays the role of Jorge. The film, Hool said, is about hope and faith and trust in God. “I didn't know if it was going to work,” Hool said, “because people in Hollywood don't make films like this… I had a great feeling that it was necessary to do it — it’s almost as though a light shone on me, and I thought ‘This has got to be done!’” 

Although the project was initiated before the pandemic, before the nation was faced with some arduous challenges, Hool believed that the the altruistic message of 2 Hearts is particularly important today. “We’re in this world for a reason,” Hool said,

...and this gift that’s been given to us, it’s very short and very temporary – but we have to live exemplary [lives], and we have to live with honor, with the deepest conviction, and we must have connectivity with our brothers and sisters. 

Hool hoped that moviegoers would leave the theater having felt the greatness and the pain of love, and beyond that, that they would emerge with a feeling of hope. 

Veronica Hool, Lance’s daughter, wrote the script for the film, and she was determined to honor the truth of the story which impacted Jorge and Chris, their families, and many others around the world. Veronica came to see that Jorge and Chris, while separated by decades and by miles, shared many things. “They both had complicated relationships with their fathers,” she said, “and each met a girl who changed everything.” As she researched and wrote the screenplay, Veronica Hool latched onto a phrase which became a mantra for the film: “Life happens for you, not to you.” She encouraged viewers to take every challenge as a gift.

Lead actor Adan Canto seemed just as enthusiastic about the deeper challenge of 2 Hearts. “There are just so many things,” he said,

...ephemeral things, that don't have any intrinsic value. There are so many things that are distracting us from the things that should matter the most: life, relationship, and from there everything else is born. We're not islands; first and foremost, community is absolutely necessary... Knowing that you can be of service.

Canto believed that the situation that we're going through right now, secure behind our masks and sheltering in our homes to defend against the coronavirus, has the effect of quieting all the hustle and bustle, enabling us to zero in on the real meaning of life, on those things which are truly important. “That’s one way,” Canto says, “that we can look at all of this and find something good at the end.” 

True, abiding love is evident in 2 Hearts, and it warms the viewer’s own heart. At the same time, the film is candid in its embrace of suffering; and it reminds the viewer that one person’s tragedy, however painful, can bring joy and peace to so many others. 

2 Hearts opens in 1,500 theaters across America on Oct. 16.