The Perez Family is a comedy film released in 1995, about a group of Cuban refugees in America, who pretend to be a family. It starred Marisa Tomei, Alfred Molina, Anjelica Huston, Chazz Palminteri, and other well known actors. It was based on the 1991 novel The Perez Family (ISBN 0-06-097401-X) by Christine Bell. The film was directed by Mira Nair. The premise of the film was that, a group of unrelated people, who happened to share the last name "Perez", realized they could more easily stay in America if they pretended to be family. Set in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift, the movie shows Juan Raúl Perez (Alfred Molina), a former aristocrat and newly released political prisoner, seeking to return to his wife, now in America, after 20 years. Dottie Perez (Marisa Tomei) is a former prostitute, who Juan meets. U.S. Immigration officials assume the two are married, because of the common last name. The potential for a real romantic relationship between the couple sets the basis for much of the rest of the film.