Writer/Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Running time: 121 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 25th August 2006
Watched on Terrestrial PVR Monday 22nd July 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I’m not quite sure just how this one ended up on ‘The List’, but on ‘The List’ it has been for some time now. Fortunately, one of our more enlightened film channels here in the UK does show a fair smattering of foreign films and this happened to be among a recent batch. So a word of warning for those that fear the subtitle; this one’s in Spanish with, yes, those troublesome words at the bottom of the screen. A film with hardly any male cast, it made for a very interesting watch. I’ll tell you more after this very brief summary.
Raimunda (Penélope Cruz), and her sister, Sole (Lola Dueñas) are cleaning their parents’ grave in the village where they grew up. With them is Raimunda’s daughter, Paula (Yohana Cobo). Their parents had perished in a fire and Raimunda and Sole had been brought up by an aunt, also called Paula. One of the neighbours, Augustina (Blanca Portillo), looks out for the aunt, who is quite old and frail. Matters come to a head when the aunt dies and Raimunda has to deal with other problems as well; a body to move, etc. As is usual at this time, family skeletons are pushed out of the closet and much is revealed about the mother, Irene (Carmen Maura). All seems quite chaotic but you know it will work itself out in the end… Or will it?
With a predominantly female cast, the story is unveiled in quite a refreshing and unusual way. I have to admit I did like the way everything was taken in a very practical way. No navel gazing going on here! All the performances were excellent with Penélope Cruz showing us just what a great actress she is, this time in her native tongue. Although I felt it was good, I didn’t feel it was great; maybe a second viewing at a later date might knock it over that level, but for now, it didn’t quite get over the line. Still, there is much to admire here and I’m glad I took the time to give it a look.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 7.4/10.
IMDb Score: 7.6/10 (based on 55,788 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: 84/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 87/100 (based on 70,373 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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