Offbeat and a bit inaccessible
One-Line Film Reviews | Easton, MD | 06/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Bottom Line:
Talk to Her is without a doubt a well-made motion picture, but it's a difficult film to approach and I felt while watching it that I was appreciating its merits without being truly involved with the storyline; I recommend it to people who typically enjoy what are considered "art films" but if that moniker scares you off then seek out another film."
If you could speak, what would you say?
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 05/25/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've mulled over my fascination with this film many times. It was the first Almodovar film I had ever seen, and it still remains my favorite. There is something very special about this masterful film, something that continues to lay haunt to my soul. The universal themes explored here seem to layer themselves over time, building upon their foundation an even stronger and deeper exploration of all I thought it had to say.
This film keeps giving.
`Hable con Ella' revolves around two men as they bond over similar situations. Both Benigno and Marco are in love with women in comas. Marco's girlfriend, bullfighter Lydia Gonzalez, is thrown into a coma after she is gored by a bull. Alicia, a beautiful dancer, has been lying in a coma for four years thanks to a car accident. Benigno is the nurse who has been taking care of her. While they were never `together', Benigno has fallen in love with her over the years and has come to consider her his soul mate. He lives and breathes to be near her and talk to her. Both men have separate yet related struggles. Marco is struggling with his relationship with Lydia, wondering what he really meant to her. Benigno struggles with a reality he isn't willing to face.
At the core of `Hable con Ella' is a story about the need to be a part of someone, of something greater than ourselves in order to feel whole. As these two men bond over their situations they become intertwined in ways neither could have imagined.
What I appreciate about this film is that it understands how to introduce shocking extremes without taking one out of the film. I read a complaint the other day by a so called Oscar blogger who mentioned that this film was one of the worst films of the decade. His complaint was this:
"I really don't understand why people like this film. The main character does something TERRIBLE, and we're supposed to feel SORRY for him? I certainly didn't. I think he got what was coming to him. I don't mind the gross sexual stuff that Pedro Almodovar does. I just mind it when he asks me to root for a complete pervert. I just don't understand this film's screenplay win."
This is totally narrow minded and completely misses the entire point of this film. What Pedro does here is far from ask us to invest in a pervert, but he asks us to understand the mind of the lonely and come to terms with someone's understanding of love and expression. We don't have to agree with the actions (and hopefully we don't) but like any good, constructive and provocative film, `Hable con Ella' understands the importance in understanding. When one watches a film like `Dead Man Walking', do we not sympathize and or come to feel heartbreak for Sean Penn, despite his despicable actions? This is a film about humanity and the imperfections that make us human. Benigno is suffering, and while he makes some disturbing decisions, one must bare in mind that he is, in fact, suffering.
The relationship that forms between Benigno and Marco is one that speaks volumes to me, for it is one that is ambiguously profound. While Almodovar leaves a lot of questions open, he understands that that is part of the journey for the audience. We are left pondering the meaning of their bond and just what one meant to the other. Marco's reaction to Benigno's actions is a serious point for reflection.
But am I giving too much away?
I urge you to sit down and really delve into this stunning film. Pedro Almodovar really understands not only his characters but also his audience. He knows how to paint a picture so vivid and so real that we are bound to relate, if we are willing to be that open and honest with ourselves."