It is refreshing to see Cruz acting in the culture and language that is her own. As it did with Sophia Loren in the 1950s, Hollywood has tried to force Cruz into a series of show-biz categories, when she is obviously most at home playing a woman like the ones she knew, grew up with, could have become.
In Volver, the latest marvel to emerge from his sharp and joyful mind, Almodovar blends autobiography, gossip, melodrama, music, the supernatural and the suffocatingly quotidian in a story about a woman -- indeed, a tribe of women -- struggling through a life of pain and disappointment.
Inmediatamente después de La mala educación Pedro Almodóvar vuelve a la receta típica: sus musas; en una historia que involucra la muerte y la maternidad, de manera que despierta nuestra atención al máximo y en cierto casos, nos toca una fibra sensible.
Easily one of Almodovar best movies. Raimunda, a young mother from La Mancha, finds refuge from her past in Madrid, where she lives with her partner Paco and teenage daughter, Paula. During an attempted abuse by her stepfather, Paula stabs him to death. Discovering the tragedy, Raimunda 'embraces' her daughter and self-defense, covering up the murder and hiding the body. This unfortunate event evokes painful and never vanished ghosts. Irene, her mother, returns from the afterlife to ask her forgiveness and repair the guilt. Easily a great piece of filmaking, easily the best Penelope Cruz you have ever seen.
Peopled with superbly drawn, attractive characters smoothly integrated into a well-turned, low-tricks plotline, Volver may rep Almodovar's most conventional piece to date, but it is also his most reflective, a subdued, sometimes intense and often comic homecoming that celebrates the pueblo and people that shaped his imagination.
You always get more than one genre with this filmmaker. Volver draws upon all sorts of influences -- a little Hitchcock, a little Douglas Sirk, a little telenovela -- but from those sources Almodovar and his collaborators, both on screen and behind the camera, make an improbably organic whole.
It's hard to say if Volver is a great film -- hard because every woman and girl in it is so damned endearing (the men are either impediments or bystanders to the real business of life) -- but safe to say it's right up there with Mr. Almodóvar's best.
Starring a crazy, but close and fractured Spanish family, this one hit me pretty good. Though my family is not Spanish (Costa Rican, so they do speak the language), this film explores sexual abuse, death, and loneliness. Though my family does not have a history of sexual abuse (as far I know), the elements regarding the death of Irene (Carmen Maura) and her return to care for her sister and how she appears to her daughters to tie up loose ends, is entirely moving. On my Costa Rican side, the one I am far closer with, my mother and her seven sisters lost their mother back in the 1990s. I do not remember her, but they often speak of her, the food she made, and how she will often appear to them in dreams. As far as I know, she is not appearing to right any wrongs, but all the same, I can see the parallels. Similarly, most have had some rough histories with men from abuse, adultery, or pure laziness. Thus, the complaints regarding abuse (sexual in the film) and adultery by the women in this film also further hits home. All told, Volver was a film made for my enjoyment and Pedro Almodovar knocked it out of the park. My second film from him, this is a welcomed film after All About My Mother was good, but left me feeling cold. Volver is very much the opposite with brilliant direction, acting, and a heartfelt and thoroughly moving story.
Part magic realism, tragedy, and farce, Volver has a bit of an absurd plot at times, but can be boiled down to: a woman, Irene, comes to visit her two daughters, Raimunda (Penelope Cruz) and Soledad (Lola Duenas). Initially taking care of her dying sister (her daughter's aunt), Irene is here to make amends with Raimunda. Though she was always tight with Soledad, Raimunda had drifted away from her in her teens for reasons unknown to her. However, upon Irene's death, she learns why and shows up to make amends. Initially nervous to see her, Raimunda eventually finds out her mother is with Soledad anyways and what ensues is a phenomenal finale to the film. The final quarter of the film is the strongest section without question as it is the most emotional portion. In particular, the final line where Raimunda is excited to have her mother back and finally gets to talk to her, absolutely ruined me. Thinking of my mother and aunts when they merely get to see their mother in a dream, it was very easy for me to fall in love with this section of the film and the film as a whole.
This power of the mother-daughter relationship is the real strength of this film. While watching the scenes in the restaurant between Raimunda and the film crew, I was confused as to how it played into the film as a whole. Obviously, there is great comedy as there is someone hidden in the freezer in the back, but her success and camaraderie with the crew does not add much. That is, of course, until she decides to sing. In the scene with the musicians on the crew and her singing a song that her mother taught her, while her mother is hiding from her in a car, is incredible. Moving, emotional, and powerful, the emotion is clear on both the faces of Cruz and Maura. They really nail this scene and make it one of the most powerful definitions of the relationship between two. Even more, the song itself is about the memories and pain a person carries with them at night that keeps them awake. The connection to the plot and hidden pasts of the characters is clear, which makes the song a tremendous selection and the scene as a whole becomes truly wondrous.
In full transparency, I always love films about death. I am probably weird, but they are always so moving and powerful. Volver is no exception and underscores why good films about the subject work so well. The film underscores the feelings of loneliness, grieving, and healing, people go through. The film also really underscores the beauty of life, in spite of pain, and the beauty of death, in spite of the reason. Death is not be feared, but here, it shows this odd beauty as well as the darkness it can create, or turns it into comedy. This may seem odd, but it does work quite well for Volver and Almodovar assures that the moments are given their due weight.
After not loving my first entry in his filmography, Volver made me understand the love for Pedro Almodovar. Moving, emotional, and powerful, Volver's great accomplishment is its mother-daughter relationship, the regret, death, and lost time. Thanks to terrific acting, directing, and writing, Volver really hits home at times and is a truly tremendous experience. Though occasionally slow and a little bloated in spots, the finale and overall film make these flaws incredibly easy to look past.
Obra maestra de Pedro Almodóvar, ofreciendo una historia totalmente dramática con el saber hacer de 4 buenísimas actrices españolas, como son Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas y Blanca Portillo. Preciosa la interpretación de Pe cantando Voler de Estrella Morente.
With the help of excellent actresses and great plots we watch the film and remain speechless. Especially Carmen Maura in the role of the mother is a masterpiece. Cruz, the muse of Almodovar, is a natural force of the character, which she created. Colourful scenery, which is an excellent choice, contrasts with full of ridiculous or scary ideas. The scenario still surprises spectator. It is hard to find as good as here analyse of women
If possible, an Almodóvar even more like a soap opera or a photo novel, mama's boy and matriarchal, I don't know in the name of what expiatory masochism a male should watch and appreciate it.
Another wonderful film from the Spanish maestro, wonderful female characters which you wam to, Cruz is excellent.
You really care about the characters, funny, eccentric, simply charming cinema at it's best!