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A woman's lover leaves her, and she tries to contact him to find out why he's left. She confronts his wife and son, who are as clueless as she. Meanwhile her girlfriend is afraid the police are looking for her because of her boyfriend's criminal activities. They talk to a female lawyer, who turns out to be the lover's new lover, and everyone's path keeps crossing each other's in a very complicated and confusing manner. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" is the first in hopefully what will be a long line of Almodovar films, I just watched it today at a free film screening when I was supposed to be seeing Fellini's 8 1/2 until the tape messed up. This was a very fine substitute.
The film contains all the elements of an absurdist play by the likes of Beckett, Stoppard or Ionesco. From its bizarre and essentially alienating dialogue, to its disjointed plot brought somewhat together by the end, it is an absolute delight to see such films around today.
All the characters are wonderfully developed and, like in a play, the narrative is light in plot but heavy in characters. It makes you think, not about the story it is telling since the story itself is ludicrous, and not about what is said for the same reason, but just about the way the characters interact with each other and how this can be applied to everyday life.
There are also some wonderful performances contained within. Each of the actors and actresses are so gutsy and alive inside this strange para-universe that Almodovar has created. It really is a treat to watch, with the persistently wry and often wildly ironic humour extracted to its full potential by the deadpan mock seriousness plastered across each character's face. It gives us a good laugh, not just at the film itself but at ourselves and the elements of us we can see in it. Plus the mambo cab is a dead-set winner.
After seeing this film, I am currently desperate to see another Almodovar. From this one piece I can see he is definitely a director worth celebrating and admiring and I will try to encourage many others to discover him for themselves. ****1/2 / *****
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