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500 Five-Star: All About My Mother (1999)

June 23, 2011

So, I have a slight problem.  Whenever I watch Penelope Cruz in a Spanish film, I become so mesmerised that I honestly don’t care (or even notice) if the film I’m watching is actually any good or not.  All About My Mother was the first time I saw her acting in her native language and I was blown away.  It took about three viewings to actually take in the whole film because I was so preoccupied with Penelope.  It’s unfair really, because the film as a whole is excellent and there are many fantastic performances to savour.

All ABout My Mother is, in fact, all about performances.  In true Almodovar style, women are the main attraction and the parts played by those women form the story.  The nun, the mother, the actress, the heroin addict, the transvestite…they all fulfill a role in society, but who are the women behind those roles?  It’s all very melodramatic (but again, what do you expect from Almodovar?) but pretty much every scene is so fascinating and emotive that the soap-opera quality of the plotlines doesn’t even really register until a few days later.  This is partly down to Cecilia Roth, who carries the weight of the film effortlessly, dragging the viewer into her life and her heartache, partly down to the fabulous array of characters and partly down to Almodovar’s willingness to see each of the different threads through to the very end.  Oh, and Penelope, but well…that goes without saying.

Verdict:

My personal favourite Almodovar, and one of the best female-centric films ever made.  I have to agree with Empire…

*****

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