Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Penelope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Genres: Indie & Art House
Deceased mother returns to comfort her family.
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Member Movie Reviews
Leah G. from GROVER BEACH, CA
Reviewed on 5/11/2012...
This was a great movie -- something out of the loop of movies you usually see.
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
A World Without Men
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 11/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is a great scene in Pedro Almodovar's latest, "Volver" that encapsulates all that this wonderful, resonant movie is about: Raimunda (a sexy, earthy Penelope Cruz who has never been better on screen) sings a gypsy/flamenco style song, having not sang in public for many years but in possession of a gorgeous singing voice, while her mother Irene (the legendary Carmen Maura), thought to be dead , discretely listens from afar. Almodovar's camera cuts between mother and daughter, both totally committed emotionally to the scene, both recalling their former lives together, estranged for years but still possessing that particular brand of love that exists only between a Mother and her daughter, both longing for lives without trials and tribulations and fear, lives without problems, without cares. "Volver" (which means to return, to come back) is nothing if not about returning to the innocence of youth: to a time when Love abounded and came without a price and without consequences. But "Volver" is also about second chances, re-tooling you life albeit, Almodovar-style which always involves some manner of the strange, the violent sometimes and the weird. This line towards re-tooling/re-imagining your life is not a straight one by any means but a zigzagged one going from "a" to "g" more often than from "a" to "b."
In "Volver" we have the extraordinary character of Raimunda played to the hilt by Penelope Cruz who has always been better in her native Spanish than she's ever been in her English films. Raimunda is strong, decisive, hard-working, married to a lout, a devoted mother and sister of Soledad (Lola Duenas) with whom she shares a strong bond now that their parents are dead.
"Volver" is a film almost totally without men except Paco, Raimunda's husband and Paula's (Raimunda's daughter)father who leaves the film early on and as such it reminds me of the Neo-Realist film classics of the WW2 era, "Open City" and the Sophia Loren starring "Two Women." But in this world without men that is "Volver" nothing seems amiss because the world that Almodovar has created is rich with well defined woman's roles: compassionately written and more importantly profoundly and deeply executed by the ensemble of actors that Almodovar has assembled: Cruz, Maura, Duenas and Blanca Portillo as Angelina.
Once again with "Volver," Almodovar has returned to the world of women alone and it is a film primarily about but definitely not only for women: their power over us, their weaknesses, their hopes, their desires. But "Volver" also shows us that mysterious inner core that all women possess which gives them an edge, a wisdom that men don't have. Call it maturity, call it a security, call it a special strength. You can even call it "feminine intuition." But, call it what you like, it's there, only women have it and lucky man, Pedro Almodovar is on a first name basis with it.
A Jewel of a Film!
JoeyD | los gatos, ca | 04/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A truly beautiful film! I was mesmerized throughout by the great writing, directing, cinematography, and above all the outstanding performances of all the wonderful actresses. One of the legendary grand dames of Spanish cinema Carmen Maura (the Judy Dench of Spain) gives a brilliant performance in a supporting role as Irene, the tortured matriarch trying to reconcile with her long, lost daughters. Penelope Cruz gives a performance that in almost any other year would have reaped her not only the Academy Award for Best Actress, but every other award known to man-kind as well (however, having seen the movie "The Queen" it was no doubt Helen Mirren's year). I have never seen Ms. Cruz even come close to being as great as she is in this fine film. She is not only breathtakingly beautiful as our main heroine Raimunda (ala Sophia Loren and Anna Magnani) but she seems to glide across the screen with such balletic grace and effortlessness that you can't take your eyes off of her for a second. The scenes between her and Maura in particular are simply sublime beyond words. The other three main actresses also give outstanding performances in supporting roles - Yohana Cobo (Paula, Raimunda's teenage daughter), Blanca Portillo (Agustina), and in particular Lola Duenas (Sole, Raimunda's loyal and lonely younger sister).
This is not a 'chick flick'. This is not one of those boring, esoteric, foreign films that you need to be of European descent to truly understand and appreciate. Pedro Almodar truly weaves together an absolutely wonderful story with a great message as well. These women exude such strength and inner beauty that it is almost impossible to not empathize with each one of them. I was pleasantly suprised when I walked out of the movie theatre and I am planning on purchasing this DVD soon. Also, anyone who has been to Spain and fell in love with the people and culture (as I did) will truly love this film! It is such an enchanting, charming land full of benevolent and passionate souls.
It is definitely a five star movie in my opinion and one of the finest films of it's kind that I have seen in years."
The Return of Almodovar!
Daryl B | Nashville, Tennessee United States | 02/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've never been a big fan of Penlope Cruz but this film, I think, has changed that! I have been, however, a fan of Pedro Almodovar for 20 years and he gives us another strong tale centered around a group of women that involves murder, incest, ghosts and much more!
Thankfully, we see the wonderful Carmen Maura reunited with her director of "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown". She really shows her talent as an actress as the mother of Raimunda (Cruz) and Sole (Lola Duenas).
The story is set around to Raimunda and Sole, two sisters who lost their parents in a fire about four years earlier. Raimunda is married to a crude drunk and Sole is a lonely young woman separated from her husband. After a tragic event occurs for Raimunda and her daughter, Paula (Yohana Cobo), Raimunda is forced to keep a secret to protect her daughter and herself. The one thing that bonds all the women is the secrets they keep. Irene (Maura), their mother, has a secret that could give the terminally ill Agustina (Blanca Portillo), who is a childhood friend of the sisters, an answer to the whereabouts of her absent mother.
The actresses in this film do AMAZING work. The story centers around Penelope Cruz who deserves the Oscar nomination she received. Carmen Maura, as usual, does a great job and another stand out is Blanca Portillo as the long suffering and loyal friend to the sisters.
If I have one criticism about the film, it just seem to end so abruptly. Other than that, Almodovar gives us another film about women that is well worth the price of your ticket as well as an addition to your dvd library. Highly recommended."