Antía and her mother, Julieta have always had quite a strained relationship. At the age of eighteen, Antia had had enough of her mother's emotionally draining way of life and decided to leave. Julieta's life continued and for the most part there was little difference that her daughter wasn't there.
Many years later, Julieta's in a much healthier headspace and decides to write her daughter a long letter attempting to explain some of the reasons behind the way she lived her life and also in a bid to somewhat make up for the years she's been missing from her life.
After finishing the letter, Julieta realises that she has no way of tracking down her daughter's mailing address.
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Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the lines of Volver or All About My Mother. Its punchy emotional rhythms are deeply involving, while the film's visual style creates an atmosphere of mystery and suspense as a woman deals with parenthood, love and death over two decades.
Julieta (Emma Suarez) is a high-powered middle-aged woman in Madrid who has just agreed to move with her writer boyfriend Lorenzo (Dario Grandinetti) to Portugal. But a series of events changes her mind, and she instead drops out of her life, consumed with thoughts about her daughter Antia (Bianca Peres), who wants nothing to do with her. As she flashes back to life as a young woman (now Adriana Ugarte), she relives her romance with the rugged fisherman Xoan (Daniel Grao) and his close friend Ava (Inma Cuesta). And thinking about all of these people who have come and gone from her life clarifies her resolve.
The film is based on three Alice Munro stories, which is what gives it such a swirling, layered quality as the characters spiral around each other. Almodovar keeps the tone intimate and openly emotional, adding vivid visual flourishes in clever camerawork and striking splashes of primary colours (mainly reds and blues). Thankfully, this isn't a downbeat movie; it's a celebration of how various aspects of love touch our life. The focus is on the seasons of Julieta's face, and both Suarez and Ugarte are transparent in the role, seamlessly merging their performances to create a woman who understands that, even with people around you, you're essentially alone in life. Meanwhile, all of the supporting actors create remarkable inner lives for their characters that make them unusually vivid.
Continue reading: Julieta Review
Revenge is a human beast that may consume even the most morally righteous of men and women in the world. It has no understanding of perspective and may sometimes lead people to commit outrageous crimes, all in the understanding of 'an eye for an eye'. In six intertwined stories, the theme of vengeance is explored: 'Pasternak' sees a man luring those who have wronged him onto a plane, 'The Rats' sees a chef carry out an act of revenge on behalf of his waitress, 'The Strongest' is road rage at its most intense, 'Little Bomb' is about an explosives expert who lands himself a parking ticket, 'The Proposal' describes a manipulated hit-and-run court case and 'Until Death Do Us Part' features probably the most traumatic wedding reception imaginable.
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When a couple discuss a mutual acquaintance, Gabriel Pasternak, on an aeroplane, they are surprised when the woman in the row in front of them turns around to interrupt their conversation. She happened to be Pasternak's teacher at elementary school, and remembers that he had screamed and cried when she had been forced to hold him back a year. She is then interrupted herself by an old student that also knew Pasternak and also happens to be on the plane. When a manager from Home Depot arises from a seat a few rows behind and announces that he used to employ Pasternak, someone asks if anyone else knew the mysterious figure. Everyone replies that they have.
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The kid's got problems. His hand is injured, he's being asked to throw fights, he works three part-time jobs, and his poor widowed mother is about to evicted from her flat and has no money to go anywhere else. At the same time, his vivacious girlfriend Alicia (Eva Marciel) is starting to hunger for the finer things in life.
Continue reading: The Good Boy Review
This central focus, the platonically affectionate friendship of two men, is admirably rare to begin with. Sure, men are pals in domestic-made features, but they rarely hug or discuss emotional dysfunction because American society is so homophobic. Audiences and critics alike are attuned to the slightest hint that a film might be presenting a gay character or subplot so that it can be easy to dismiss even the most intelligent works of fiction as simply "queer" without giving it the further attention to human issues it deserves. One would think that writer/director Almodóvar would lean more towards gay/lesbian issues, being a homosexual, but he thankfully seems bent on capturing the essence of people, in all their parts, and not just whom they choose to sleep with. His consistently honest stance, both in interviews and film projects, fuels his ability to intelligently articulate heart-wrenching and heartwarming experiences with all of his creations, regardless of sexual orientation.
Continue reading: Talk To Her Review
Spanish auteur Pedro Amoldóvar has a special talent for making eccentrics feel accessible. His films are always populated, at least in part, by unusual characters (transvestites, bondage freaks, pregnant nuns) who are so fully developed as characters -- and as human beings -- that they seem no stranger than your next door neighbor.
In "Talk To Her," the director's central weirdo an awkward, obsessive, socially incongruous male nurse with a stalker's crush on a comatose patient. His name is Benigno (Javier Camara) and his intensely sheltered life of caring for his fake-invalid mother has not only compelled him toward this kind of imaginary, one-sided "relationship," it was also the catalyst for his obsession in the first place.
Benigno lived with his mother across the street from a dance studio where he first became dumbstruck by Alicia (Leonor Watling), watching her through the windows before a hit-and-run accident left her hospitalized and effectively brain-dead. Having taken correspondence courses in nursing to better care for the old woman -- who had since died and left him alone in the apartment from which he rarely ventured -- Benigno convinced the girl's father to hire him as her private nurse.
Continue reading: Talk To Her Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.
Antía and her mother, Julieta have always had quite a strained relationship. At the age...
Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...
Revenge is a human beast that may consume even the most morally righteous of men...
When a couple discuss a mutual acquaintance, Gabriel Pasternak, on an aeroplane, they are surprised...
Spanish auteur Pedro Amoldóvar has a special talent for making eccentrics feel accessible. His films...