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|Index||233 reviews in total|
I think this movie won best foreign flick, but I think it's better than what won best domestic movie of the year. I don't even remember what won best (US) movie. I know what you're probably thinking, I'm an IMDB user and don't know the movie that won the oscar? That tells you what an impression it made on me. I'll tell you what, I haven't forgotten "AAMM" Sometimes, when you're not expecting it, it feels good to cry because something in a movie touches you. In this movie, there's a couple scene right after another that do the trick. It's a lovely feeling to cry and feel hope at the same time. It's tears combined with despair that sucks.
Oy vay ! High-strung,
hysterical, and over-plotted soap opera: you either
back and submit to the emotional roller-coaster or
leave the theater; there is no in-between.
I stayed and enjoyed myself because visually the film has enough sensual body to transcend its own operatic monkeyshines: richly saturated with color and resplendent with forms, it offers up images that are often as empassioned as the drama: a high-caloric eye candy. It's much too rare these days to find anyone making films with even the slightest cognizance of the fact that film is a plastic medium. Whatever else may be said of him, Almodovar at least has a deep, instinctive, highly imaginative sense of the connection between feelings and images: for example, the pedestrian accident, the geography and architecture of Madrid and Barcelona, the choreography of whores and cars in "the field," the illusion of the hospital floor level with the sea, and tunneling through time in a train tunnel.
The hypercharged emotionalism, a Hispanic and homosexual double whammy, bears no relation to reality, in fact, insults it. Almodovar sexualizes emotions that have nothing to do with gender, inviting politically correct responses such as this one, from that bastion of PC mind-wash, the San Francisco Bay Guardian : " All About My Mother is a meticulous examination of the roles women play, in grief, in love, and, literally, on stage." But such are the times we live in, where fallopian tubes and a uterus supposedly determine whether or not one can feel honestly and spontaneously. (Gender capitalistic consumer niches have been personalized ad nauseum.)
Quite ironically it is the soulful, even masculine, grounding of the superb acting of Cecilia Roth that anchors this film, keeps it from whizzing up and away in its own excesses and camp. Just about everyone else in the cast also keeps a tight trim, which, I am sure, reflects some degree of directorial circumspection amidst all the frenzy.
Intellectually the movie is cotton candy, all sugar and air. Leitmotivs referencing All About Eve and A Streetcar Named Desire frame the film. These references, less than profound, are like a sophomore's highlighting. (Almodovar pulled the same trick in Live Flesh by putting Bunuel's The Exterminating Angel on a TV in the background, only to have it backfire by contrasting its sterling high quality to his own cheesiness.)
Would I see Almodovar's next film? Definitely. Why? Because he's fresh, fun, doesn't repeat himself, and, most importantly, he honors the medium he deals in; his films look like films.
Okay, it's a girl movie. Those "girls" may be born or made, but rarely do
you find your screen full of so females--so many different, fairly
unpredictable types of women.
What I don't see in the other reviews is mention of the humour in this movie. Not side-splitting, but it's pivotal.
For example, late in the film the main character, Marcella leaves town and returns immediately--the train going one way and then back in the opposite direction (with a voice-over telling us 2 years have lapsed.) The audience giggles en masse, because it's so silly, soap opera-like, and so in keeping with the rest of the story, which is full of tunnels. Very Freudian, those tunnels--always with bright lights and lively scenes of colour at tunnel's end, like most birth canals.
You needn't go see this film to be moved, or anything too soul-searching--though it's a very human film, determined to treat every character as an individual. Go have a look just for the gentle humour of it, and the very strong vision of Almodóvar and his cinematographer(s).
I went to see this movie after reading so many good reviews about
Well..let me tell you that's not enough to read the reviews, you MUST see
IT!!! Not because it got the Oscar for the best foreign movie, but because
you'll be amazed what an European director can do.
Imagine a Fellini in our modern times and you'll be absolutely
WARNING: this is not a movie for all tastes...you might not like it.
Actually I was very surprised that it got the Oscar, the American taste is
not mine usually:)
9 points from 10!!!!
This film is one of Almodovar's best. It has a very strong storyline and
Manuela is a wonderfully strong character and is played exceptionally well by Cecilia Roth. A simply awe inspiring performance.
Although some people would find some of the characters a little hard to understand and accept, but that's part of Almodovar's wonderful ways of filming people from all walks of life.
If I had to rate this out of 10, I'd give in 9 out of 10.
Writer - Director Pedro Almodovar has a reputation for original and mildly
shocking portraits of, shall we say, non-mainstream Spanish sexuality,
usually delivered with plenty of cinematographic flair and a fair amount of
frivolity. Hence "High Heels", "Tie me Up, Tie me Down!" "Live Flesh" etc.
This film continues the tradition but in rather more serious vein. It
touches on acting, transvestism, organ transplants (no, not that organ),
senility, HIV, pregnancy, single motherhood, mother-daughter and mother-son
relationships and a father-daughter non-relationship. The film is dedicated
to all those great actresses who played actresses (Bette Davis for example
in All About Eve). Inevitably as with Bette Davis they wind up playing or
parodying themselves, though Marisa Paredes puts in a restrained performance
here as the great Huma.
The central character is Manuela, a nurse and former amateur actress from Barcelona working in an organ transplant unit in Madrid, who has a 17 year old son by a man who disappeared before her son was born. After her son is killed in an accident she goes back to Barcelona to find the father but instead gets involved with a leading actress and her young junkie girlfriend, a truck driver turned transvestite and a pregnant nun with HIV. Yet this is not a comic film. Odd people have problems that are no less real than anyone else's. Almodovar shows us the overwhelming grief of a mother for her son and the way we tolerate dreadful behaviour by our partners in the name of love.
Barcelona is in so many scenes it might almost be a character and the whole thing is very prettily done, but not so as to detract from the film's central themes. Personally I find tranvestism (as opposed to transsexuality) difficult to understand - why does one need to dress up as a woman to get off as a man (as opposed to getting it off with a man)? The trannies here are the big brassy sort. In a fairly macho society as Spain apparently is, it seems that sex roles need to be clearly delineated and hence a feminine man needs high heels, big breasts and lots of make-up.
Despite the implausible plot and strange characters this is a moving tale adroitly told and lusciously filmed. Almodovar does like to keep us entertained and the film is not a moment too long.
The previous comments of viewers sum up very accurately this movie. I hope this movie gets the Oscar so more people will see it. Since many men (and women) are still afraid or nervous of transvestites and other gender differences, I found this film refreshing in its humanizing of people, hetero, homo, etc. etc. and it is a great movie in all areas (acting, music, editing). After watching "Wonder Boys" and "Magnolia", what a relief to see a movie with heart and muscle.
I have seen this movie four times, once in Madrid when it premiered there
(saw the red carpet for the stars but missed the stars), once in Seville
when I was passing through, once in Boston, to see it with English subtitles
to learn the jokes I'd missed, and a fourth time in Washington.
I loved it the first time, but at every succeeding viewing, I was more and more impressed with the sheer PERFECTION of it.
Almodovar is a director whose growth as an artist and, dare I say, as a person as reflected in his art, I have followed avidly since seeing "Women on the Verge" more than ten years ago and seeing all his earlier movies on video except "Pepi, Luci, Bom." Perfection is not usually a word I associate with his films, for it is the films' imperfections, somehow so befitting those of the characters themselves, which have endeared me to this director.
The imperfections also arise from the experimental, provisional character of much of his oeuvre -- every movie seems quite different from its predecessor and its successor, a world all of its own. "All About My Mother" recalls -- and yet is unmistakably distinct from -- his effort two movies back, "The Flower of My Secret" and six movies back, "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" -- which two also happen to be my favorite of all his films.
Almodovar's films fall into to two categories: those of (primarily) desolation and those of (ultimately) hope. What all Almodovar films share, even such relatively dark ones as "What Have I Done to Deserve This" and "Dark Habits," is the compassion their creator shows for his characters. People are shown taking often hilarious, often extreme, measures to restore meaning to their lives. "All About My Mother" recovers reasons for living through the victory of sanity, tolerance, solidarity, and compassion itself.
There is so much to recommend this movie. The characters are compelling, the performances all strong. My favourites are Agrado who provides with unforgettable comedy the reality check even when she is the one creating her own reality, and Huma, tormented yet so full of grace in every sense of the word, played by my most beloved of Almodovar's actresses, Marisa Paredes, but it would be unjust not to mention the mother Manuela (Cecilia Roth) and son Esteban (Eloy Azarin) whose interrupted dialogue binds the movie together, both interpreters of exceptional deftness and power.
As usual, the lush score and visual design help stylize and elevate the film into the fabular-poetic realm without leaving the earth, everyday life, and the contemporary world's problems.
With "All About My Mother," Almodovar has fulfilled the promise of "Flower of My Secret" -- to embark on a new more reflective art, structured not around fantastical melodramatics but around the more "ordinary" tribulations of the heart (there the estrangement of a husband and a wife, here the opening up of other kinds of distance between loved ones and lovers), but all still lightened and seasoned with his miraculous sense of comedy.
I heard about "All About my Mother" through a preview I saw before another
film I saw. I never knew of the director's other films, but I decided to
give it a try.
I went in with very low expectations since I didn't know much about the movie besides that I saw in the preview. And I went out being VERY glad that I live near a movie theater that offers foreign films.
The actresses were wonderful, each contributed to the wonderful plotline of the movie. I really liked Cecelia Roth, I hope I will have the opportunity to see her in other films.
The plot line was great too. Most American directors/writers would not take the risk of having a movie just of a woman cast. As I read, some would think a movie with all women would end up being one of those "Lifetime movie of the week" Luckily, for most of us, it wasn't. It was a point, yet it made us laugh, cry and get angry on the way.
I recommend "All About My Mother" to those who aren't into foreign films yet. The subtitles were pretty accurate and even without them, the great acting helped me understand the story anyway.
Spanish cinema excels.Almodovar masters the study about woman.A mother willing to make every sacrifice for her son.Willing to meet the transvestite father of her son.La Agrado,a transsexual that will give lots of laughter. Nina,her problem with AIDS and the distance from her mother. In the background of a theatrical play like 'A streetcar named desire'.Women trying to survive,get to know each other and give a happy meaning to life.A movie dedicated to every mother.
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