Although Mirna is notably lacking in self-pity and displays great courage in dealing with her circumstances, as the film progress it becomes clear that her illnesses have not only taken their toll on her frail body but that she is losing her lucidity and ability to comprehend her situation. Her stoic attitude and strong religious faith do not amount to a plan for her future, and Arami is forced to make the difficult decision to place her in a care home. This process involves a lengthy odyssey during which she discovers that the government does not even provide minimal information to people in this situation regarding their options. Instead, it is strongly insisted that family members care for ill and elderly relatives, even if, as in Mirna's case, they require 24-hour care and have complicated medical needs.
The film also highlights the profoundly different philosophies of an older, traditional generation and a more worldly and secular younger generation. Throughout the film, the conversations between Arami and her parents return to the tension between the responsibility to care for family members and the idea that people have a right to self-determination. In a grim irony, this is a conversation that Arami and Patrick have before she returns to Paraguay. While he urges her to think about her own life as well as her mother's, she asks him how this can be put into practice. Her father, who has never demonstrated any willingness to take on the responsibility for Mirna's care, uses a notably similar line of argument to dismiss the advice of Arami's psychiatrist that she should not try to overcome her guilt about not being her mother's caregiver as it is up to her parents to relieve her of this responsibility. Luis suggests that this advice is overly "theoretical" and asks for a letter from the psychiatrist outlining practical guidelines to achieve this. Arami seeks refuge in literature and psychoanalysis in an attempt to solve her crisis, but these appear to offer no more practical help than her mother's religious faith. The film concludes with her mother settling into a care home as Patrick and Arami look towards building a future together.
Ullón's film caused a great deal of debate in her native country, and had the profound impact of prompting the Department of Social Services in Asunción to provide a guide to services for seniors for the first time. Her work is part of a small but significant number of recent documentaries by Paraguayan women— including Renate Costa Perdomo's Cuchillo de palo (2011)— that tell overlooked, intensely personal stories that have a resonance far beyond national borders. El Tiempo Nublado (Cloudy Times) does not provide easy answers to the dichotomy between older citizens' need for care and the right of women to live their own lives, but it gives a voice to both and is a moving testament to the ability of film to play an essential role in activism.