Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. Spain, 2006. Canal+ España, El Deseo, Ministerio de Cultura, Televisión Española. Screenplay by Pedro Almodovar. Cinematography by Jose Luis Alcaine. Produced by Esther García. Music by Alberto Iglesias. Production Design by Salvador Parra. Costume Design by Bina Daigeler. Film Editing by José Salcedo. Academy Awards 2006. Cannes Film Festival 2006. Golden Globe Awards 2006. Toronto International Film Festival 2006.
Penelope Cruz is a frustrated woman who suddenly finds herself raising her daughter alone and dealing with the pain of her mother’s death, from whom she had been estranged for years. Lucky thing that her mother’s ghost (Carmen Maura) has returned to live with Cruz’s sister (Lola Dueñas), hiding from her other daughter until she is ready to connect with her and resolve issues of the past. Meanwhile, a neighbour from their mother’s village (Blanca Portillo) is intent on finding out what happened to her own mother, who went missing around the time that Maura died. Almodovar takes delight in watching these very charismatic women sort through their own idiosyncrasies in an effort to survive their personal tragedies, never using any of the comedy to undercut the more touching elements of the story. Cruz truly is a marvel in the lead, subtle and wholly moving in every scene, while Maura is a knockout in her first time back in an Almodovar film since their artistic falling out almost twenty years ago.