Sony Pictures Classics | Release Date: November 19, 1999
8.5
USER SCORE
Universal acclaim based on 67 Ratings
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63
Mixed:
4
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9
DanielleL.Jan 10, 2006
Brilliantly moving
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10
LuisG.Oct 30, 2006
Honest bittersweet portrayal of life
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7
smijatovJan 28, 2011
Maybe I have had very high expectations of this film, since Almodovar is my favourite director, but I felt somewhat confused. Well, I definitely felt with the characters - the emotion was very real from all the actors, especially Cecilia RothMaybe I have had very high expectations of this film, since Almodovar is my favourite director, but I felt somewhat confused. Well, I definitely felt with the characters - the emotion was very real from all the actors, especially Cecilia Roth and Marisa Paredes. However, the story itself leaves me with so many questions, something that I am used to have answered in Almodovar's films. Or maybe that's a new development, since I have seen all of the films that came after this one, before I have watched All About My Mother.
Either way, it is definitely worth watching and the excellent acting and music (typical of Almodovar's works) make the film something one ought to watch. So yes, a very good film, somewhat confusing and question-provoking, but ultimately good.
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10
anthonyukApr 21, 2011
Simply outstanding!
Heartfelt with wonderfully interesting characters, if this film doesn't move you then you're not human!
The champion of cinema that celebrates women, Almodovar is an absolute genius!
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7
SpangleDec 29, 2016
Largely disappointing. The first film I have seen by Pedro Almodovar, All About My Mother still has me excited to check out the rest of his filmography, but this one is definitely flawed. A melodrama that is certainly partially an homage toLargely disappointing. The first film I have seen by Pedro Almodovar, All About My Mother still has me excited to check out the rest of his filmography, but this one is definitely flawed. A melodrama that is certainly partially an homage to films such as A Streetcar Named Desire and All About Eve, All About My Mother is a moving, tragic, and heart wrenching experience. With themes of parenthood, death, AIDS, transsexuality, and faith, the film is an undeniably powerful experience. However, with a rushed ending and other moments of brevity throughout the film, All About My Mother loses some of its impact along the way.

Starring Cecilia Roth as Manuela, a grieving mother who recently lost her son, but has a mysterious past, the film explores her life after the death of her son. The film is an excellent exploration of her character and as she travels to find her son's transsexual father, Lola (Toni Canto). Never having told Lola she had a son (and named it Esteban, which was Lola's past name), Manuela travels to Barcelona, but meets a cast of characters along the way who alter her course. The purpose of the film may be to find Lola, but it spends far more time exploring Manuela's interactions with actress Huma (Marisa Paredes), transsexual prostitute Agrado (Antonia San Juan), and the HIV-positive and pregnant nun Rosa (Penelope Cruz). In the process, it explores the aforementioned themes and the stereotypes that perpetuate them.

Regarding AIDS and transsexuality, it is clear that there is an opposite reaction after the initial repulsion. People certainly look down upon both HIV-positive and transsexual people (even now) and All About My Mother captures this element. Yet, the film shows how people then have differing reactions to both. For those who are HIV-positive, such as Rosa, people are repulsed and want nothing to do with her. Her own mother, once Rosa gives birth, wants nothing to do with the child for fear that she will become HIV-positive as well. For transsexuals, they are still repulsed, but there is an inherent curiosity to this repulsion. Per Almodovar, people may not like transsexuals, but they find the blending of male and female private parts to be compelling and entirely erotic. The film shows how transsexuals must overcome these sexual advances to become what they really are: regular people who just happen to deviate from the norm.

The film blends these themes with themes of death and of faith. With Manuela's son dying and others dying from AIDS in the film, it is clear that death permeates the film. Through the melodrama, Almodovar wrings every possible ounce of tears out of the crowd, but he does lose some impact by skipping over death. He expects us to put it together, which we clearly can, but just hearing about it and seeing them die is entirely different. In this vein, the films brevity hurts it with these powerful moments losing all emotional impact due to his approach. With regards to faith, the power of God is ever present in this film. With His ability to heal highlighted toward the end, the film's thematic dealings with faith are clear through the presence of Rosa. A pregnant and HIV-positive nun, she is positively shown despite the juxtaposition. Selfless and willing to help people wherever needed, Rosa highlights the best of Christianity and, even if she has slipped into sin, there is forgiveness for her at the end of the day, even if her family is unwilling to accept her. For Almodovar, it is clear that faith is important in this film, but character triumphs all. Just because you are religious, it does not mean you are without sin, but your character means far more than any sins you may have committed.

A powerful melodrama, All About My Mother has a pretty poor ending where Almodovar just jumps ahead in time, losing all emotional impact, and just tells us what happened to characters. We see Manuela leave and come back after two years in five seconds, which is incredibly jarring. The film, in an attempt to cover its characters in greater depth without making the film longer, skims along at the end. For such a good film beforehand, it is disappointing to see Almodovar shorthand the ending and wind up crippling the final product. That said, the tremendous acting, writing, compelling themes, and unique colors and art direction, make the film a good one. I certainly hope my further exploration of Almodovar's filmography yields more enthusiastic results, however.
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10
gabrielsuMar 4, 2013
A breathtaking masterpiece. By far it's Almodóvar's best movie to date. The cast it's marvelous, the photography it's genial, the angles of the camera. Very well written and directed.
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10
talisencrwJan 22, 2014
Last month, I went through the Pedro Almodovar Collection, which has films from Matador in 1986 to Bad Education from 2004. Although all of them were from very good to outstanding, this was one of my favourites, and for good reason, as it isLast month, I went through the Pedro Almodovar Collection, which has films from Matador in 1986 to Bad Education from 2004. Although all of them were from very good to outstanding, this was one of my favourites, and for good reason, as it is obvious that Almodovar was on quite the roll. Not only is he excellent behind the camera and just bursting with creative aplomb, he is a very fine writer, not to mention the best director of women that I have ever seen. Expand
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8
Xan_RyilDec 8, 2015
Many themes are mixed in 'All About My mother' and the best part is that it does not care about them at all. Movie has it's own pace, the goal set in start is lost somewhere to pursue important ones. It also clarifies how does a loss changesMany themes are mixed in 'All About My mother' and the best part is that it does not care about them at all. Movie has it's own pace, the goal set in start is lost somewhere to pursue important ones. It also clarifies how does a loss changes the point of view and feelings for someone. Reshaping one's own life over one's sorrow. Although set in Spain, it have major south american influence on characters and their lifestyle aswell as technical departments. Like most of Pedro Almodovar, woman oriented turns into genderless story of people who are dealing with grief, regret while struggling with life to go on. 'Innocence does know itself' would perfectly describe the movie. Expand
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9
alejandro970Dec 4, 2016
Con el estilo distintivo del director manchego, en un tono intimista, materno y tragicomico, apoyado en un destacado reparto femenino. Atencion con los homenajes a los clasicos.
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