(Todo sobre mi madre)

dir.Pedro Almodovar
st.Cecilia Roth,Eloy Azorin,Antonia San Juan, Penelope Cruz,Roza Maria Sadra

Pedro Almodovar, the Spanish director who shall always be admired for introducing the world to Antonio Banderas is back with his most serious film to date. I have never been a fan of Almodovar's work, but I do admire his skill and the beauty he captures on screen, so I shall try to do him justice.

Manuela (Cecilia Roth) is a single mother living in Madrid who sees her teenage son, Esteban (Eloy Azorin), die unexpectedly. When reading his diary afterwards, she realises how much he wanted to know about the father he never met. She travels back to Barcelona, where she fled from 18 years ago when she was pregnant, to track down the transsexual father. In Barcelona she teams up with a mutual, transsexual friend of the father, La Agrado (Antonia San Juan), and a young nun, Sister Rosa (Penelope Cruz) to track down her estranged husband.

This film is a serious study of love, friendship, family, escape, regret, grief, and hope. The characters are bonded to each other through their hardships, but they always manage to drag something positive out of the situation that makes them stronger and more determined. Almodovar loves colour, and once again we are presented with a dazzling array of clothes, props and sets that ignite the screen. But enough praise, let me talk about what I don't like about this film because I expect there will be plenty of positive reviews surfacing for you to read.

I hate the shots where Almodovar shows us the magnificent architecture of Barcelona and then the seedy interiors of the characters homes. How clichéd. I wish he could find a better way to show us the contrast inlives. I hate the fact that the comic relief comes from La Agrado. Why are gays, drag queens and transsexuals always used for light relief? It is great that Almodovar uses these people in his films, but why can't he do something original with them. I am so sick of stereotyping.

This film is emotional, there were a lot of tears in the audience. Almodovar does seem to be able to make films centring on women which is great, but I found the story simplistic, moralistic and with a bizarrely upbeat ending which ruined the whole atmosphere for me. I hate the way he found it is necessary to show hope in the way he did. Throughout the movie the characters made their own hope, they never gave up, they might run a way, but they coped. I found the ending offensive, or maybe I just missed the point. If you want a film full of emotion, personal hardships and struggle , this is for you, but it was not for me.


Eugene Chew
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