Julieta (2016)

Julieta
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Based on: three short stories from the book Runaway by Alice Munro
Cast: Emma Suárez, Adriana UgartePriscilla DelgadoBlanca Parés, Daniel Grao, Inma Cuesta, Darío Grandinetti, Michelle Jenner, Pilar Castro, Nathalie Poza
Seen on: 17.8.2016

Plot:
Julieta (Emma Suárez) has plans to leave the country with her boyfriend Lorenzo (Darío Grandinetti). But just before they leave, she coincidentally meets Bea (Michelle Jenner) who used to be her daughter’s Antía (Priscilla Delgado) best friend. And Bea tells her that she met Antía by chance. Suddenly Julieta cancels all plans for her future and decides to confront her past instead: how she met Xoan (Daniel Grao) when she was a young woman (Adriana Ugarte); how she lived with her daughter and how things changed when Antía grew up (Blanca Parés).

It’s been a while that I genuinely liked an Almodóvar film and, unfortunately, Julieta does not mark a change in that particular trend, as much as I wanted to like it.

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Los amantes pasajeros [I’m So Excited] (2013)

Los amantes pasajeros
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Javier Cámara, Carlos Areces, Raúl Arévalo, Lola Dueñas, Hugo Silva, Antonio de la Torre, José Luis TorrijoBlanca Suárez, Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas

[TRIGGER WARNING]

Plot:
Peninsula Flight 2549 is in trouble. So instead of going to Mexico, they are flying circles above Toledo, waiting for a specially prepared landing strip. The crew has sedated the tourist class and now has to deal with the increasingly worried and extremely eccentric business class. With the help of drugs and gallows humor, everything is quickly revolving around sex.

Los amantes pasajeros is for the most part pretty funny. But it also drags on, is chock full with stereotypes and has two rapes that are treated not only as a joke but also as the romantic start of a relationship, so I can’t really give it a pass.

Los_amantes_pasajeros

[SPOILER]

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La piel que habito [The Skin I Live In] (2011)

La piel que habito
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Based on: Thierry Jonquet‘s novel [my review]
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet

Plot:
Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) is a renowned plastic surgeon who is currently working on only one patient, Vera (Elena Anaya), who he keeps locked up in his private hospital where Robert illegally experiments on Vera with an especially fortified skin transplant. The only other person in the house is the housekeeper Marilia (Marisa Paredes) who has been with Robert since he was a child. Marilia is convinced that Vera has the face of Robert’s dead wife. And there is something else in Vera’s and Robert’s past that connects them.

Almodóvar has made quite a few changes from the book and most of them don’t really work for me. Generally the plotting is quite weak here. But apart from that, it’s a beautifully crafted film.

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Los abrazos rotos [Broken Embraces] (2009)

Los abrazos rotos [Broken Embraces] is the newest work of Pedro Almodóvar starring Penélope Cruz and Lluís Homar.

Plot:
Harry Caine (Lluís Homar) is a screenplay writer who has gone blind a while ago after an accident. He manages his life with the help of his best friend and agent Judit (Blanca Portillo) and her son Diego (Tamar Novas). When he gets a visit “from the past”, he starts to tell Diego about the passionate affair he had with the actress Lena (Penélope Cruz) a while ago.

If this movie wasn’t a Almodóvar, I’d say it’s very good. But as it is, the standards I hold it to are much higher and the movie loses. It’s still very watchable and quite entertaining, but the “special ingredient” is missing that takes it from being good to being excellent. The plot is a little too predictable, Harry a little too unlikable, Lena a little too mysterious… it kind of adds up and leaves you wondering what happened to Almodóvar.

broken-embraces-poster

[SPOILERS]

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