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Todo sobre mi madre
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Reviews & Ratings for
All About My Mother More at IMDbPro »Todo sobre mi madre (original title)

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Transvestites, Nurturing, and Lots In Between

Author: Tatay from Detroit, Michigan
15 January 2000

I found this to be an enjoyable and interesting film. It got me thinking about transvestites and nurturing and a lot of stuff in between. The cinematography and music were excellent. Most of the characters were well intentioned, though many were reckless or vice ridden. However, the heroine was above that and provided inspiration.

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A superb movie that makes you feel satisfied when you leave the theater.

Author: sid-10 from Princeton, NJ, USA
15 January 2000

This movie has all the genre of drama, comedy, and sexuality rolled into one superb demonstration. Although some of the plot can be predicted, the high level of direction, photography, and music keep you intrigued to the very end. This can also be said for the acting produced by every role from small to large. To this moment, I still do not know if the transvestites are played by actors or actresses, but it really does not matter.

The language is definitely in the "R" rated category but done in a hilarious fashion. Please no not destroy the image by having it dubbed in English.

I would recommend this movie to anyone over the age of 17, if they can tolerate a few "X" words.

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Highly Overrated.

Author: Martin-165
13 January 2000

I have through the years never really appreciated Almodóvar. When 'Todo Sobre mi Madre' received such huge responses I hoped he had overdone himself. When I went to see this piece, I did so with quite great expectations. But, oh, how I was disappointed. I did enjoy the movie, I did laugh numerous of times. I did not, however, consider this a larger movie than a couple of good laughs. The story was very profound, every actress either had or did live through some huge sadness, so to speak. The fundamental plot of this movie was very demanding, it must thus be very realistic and justifiable according to human behaviour, when thrown in such emotional crisis. Whereas I found this sadness, this depression, this wandering state the most relevant, the most fundamental object to depict I was really, truly disappointed, even quite upset. There was but one scene where a character actually cried, however, she nearly had the chance to even begin until Almodovar threw us into the next scene. In such emotional state we reveal ourselves, our true selves, only when we are alone. We do not act according to our emotions when looked upon, especially not in such a position. How many times, how long was a character alone? Hardly ever, and if so, for an absurd short moment. What this movie gave me what nothing but laughs, beyond that, nothing of positive or poetic, artistic value what so ever. Almodovar himself is, indeed, glad that the European filmmakers differ from the Hollywood stationed, however, this movie had every awful parallel to simple Hollywood productions trying to explore metaphysics. It's an easy, awful attempt to depict grief and sadness, it's more of an insult to the two states rather than an exploration of them, probably why it became so popular as well. "Todo sobre mi madre" surely, by its plot, demand great vision, great talent, however, Almodovar proved to lack both.

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Almodovar at his best!

Author: Massimo Nittardi ( from New Haven
9 January 2000

The latest effort by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar is definitely one of his best.

The screenplay, both funny and dramatic, is intelligent and well structured, and never loses its spin.

The whole cast, dominated by women, deserves the highest honors.

The soundtrack beautifully underlines every aspect of the movie, never imposing itself and always matching the atmosphere of the moment.

Cinematography and costumes are, as usual in Almodovar's movies, warm and joyful, and Mr. Almodovar adds his special touch to the whole scenery with his simple but effective directing style.

This is definitely a not-to-miss movie.

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A masterpiece

Author: Karok-2 from Spain
2 January 2000

Watch this movie was one of the most amazing things in the world. I hated though that just by my side I had someone that gets tired of watch movies, and that doesn't leave you alone!!

Giving a 10 out of 10 maybe is a little too much (there is nothing perfect,and a 10 means perfect, but All about my mother (todo sobre mi madre) is close to that) but everything is for the help to Almodóvar get the Oscar for the foreign film 99. This film is amazing, and wonderful. The views of Barcelona are beautiful, and very nice from Almodóvar to make a movie to this wonderful city.

Cecilia Roth is playing an extraordinary woman (the world would be much better if everyone would be like Manuela). The film was played by Marisa Paredes, Antonia San Juan and the beautiful Penélope Cruz, in a delicious way. The are Oscar worth (is sad that is a spanish movie for this).

Well, the screenplay is a masterpiece, mixes drama, love, doubt, humor, sensibility and human feelings in a coctel that in front of your eyes it transformes to a delicious work that almost everyone can enjoy it.

When my dad saw it said that this movie should be one obligatory film to watch! For the themes that treats. Well, for ending. YOU SHOULD, YOU MUST WATCH THIS MOVIE. YOU'LL LIKE IT!

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almodovar learns to write?

Author: jen-39 from washington, dc
1 January 2000

after years of over-the-top farce, almodovar suddenly decides to direct a movie with a comprehensible plotline and subtle direction. quite a surprise after the wretched incomprehensibility that was kika.

leaving his usual madrid setting for barcelona, almodovar revisits his usual subjects: pregnant nuns, transvestites, and the more troubled denizens of society's underbelly. the story he spins is moving and compassionate -- a chick flick at heart. but that isn't a bad thing, especially when most of the chicks carry ...other... equipment.

now, perhaps almodovar will figure out that storytelling doesn't necessarily mean you have to foreshadow EVERYTHING.... the one big problem i had with this is that the entire plot is revealed in the first fifteen minutes. but it was fun watching it unravel.

(note: this was also one of the best translations i've seen yet. the subtitles were actually accurate most of the time.)

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One from the heart

Author: matthew wilder ( from los angeles
30 December 1999

Pedro Almodovar lost me somewhere around TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! His descent into melodrama struck me as more telenovela than Douglas Sirk; and ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER, acclaimed around the world as his masterpiece, seems to make itself up as it goes along--not in a free-booted way, in a half-assed way. But Almodovar's heart is so clearly in every frame of this tribute to maternality real and fictional that it's impossible to come away unmoved. Cecilia Roth plays the mother--an amalgam of Eve Harrington, Stella Kowalski, and a few Gena Rowlands roles--who seems fated to outlive her real and invented children. Almodovar often here seems to be working with scotch tape and rubber cement, but Roth's luminousness, and the almost surgical power of Alfredo Iglesias' score, produce a crashing-tide surfeit of emotion that makes quibbling seem petty. I can't think of another queer director in mainstream movies who made such an unabashed and personal work of tribute to femininity in all its guises--biological, pretend, unconscious. It's Almodovar's naked sincerity that makes the movie work.

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A colourful party!

Author: Eric the Federalist ( from Oslo, Norway
27 December 1999

I gave this movie 9 out of 10... In some ways this film is very original: 1. The special use of colours, very powerful when Manuela moves from her colourful apartment in Madrid to the brown, "new" apartment in Barcelona! 2. The filming, especially the photos of Madrid seen high above the city. 3. Everybody has a dream of being different, this movie showed us this in a beautiful way. A nun is more than a nun - a transvestite is more than a transvestite! The only real is our dreams, if we don't try to reach them, we'll be faking!

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The Three Estebans

Author: lou-50 from Houston, Texas
23 December 1999

Pedro Almovodar's films don't fit neatly into nice square pegs. They take what is unconventional and bizarre and try to make it commonplace. Films like "Tie Me Up and Tie Me Down" and now "All About My Mother" are equally adventuresome and frustrating to see because they have that quality of 'you had to have been there' as well as the feeling that something got lost in the translation. For example, why is there the fascination for Bette Davis, her chain smoking, "All About Eve", the abusive relationship of Stella and Blanche in 'Streetcar Named Desire', and the transforming beauty of men turned into women? In "All About My Mother", a single mother blocks out the memory of her husband from her only son because the circumstances leading to their separation are too painful to discuss. As coordinator for a Madrid organ transplant center, the film's central character, Manuela, role plays the survivor of a donor victim for a training program only to reenact the real tragedy later. Indeed, such revulsion is a recurring theme, from 'Music for Chamelons' by Truman Capote in which the writer and his craft are portrayed in an almost sadomasochistic way, to the manner in which Manuela stalks and confronts the actress Huma about why her son died, to the well-refined mother of a nun who learns her daughter was both impregnated and infected by an HIV positive transvestite, to finally the infant boy and a dead seventeen year old son sired by the same man. Yet even with barriers to understanding the dialogue and nuances of "All About My Mother", the one message that is unmistakably clear about Almovodar's characterizations is their basic humanity - their frailties as well as their strengths and their determination to survive. "La Cage Aux Folles" succeeded in making unconventional lives real and meaningful and "All About My Mother" does so just as well.

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Almodovar's BEST film about women!

Author: MickeyTo from Toronto, Canada
19 December 1999

One thing that seems to be consistent in Almodovar films is his fixation on women who have gone/are going through earth shattering experiences. Even in his most male dominated films (Law of Desire) there was still plenty of screen time devoted to a woman on the edge. All About My Mother is certainly no exception, but without question, this one is the most compelling.

Cecilia Roth plays Manuela. She's a single mom with a teenage boy, making ends meet. One night her son is hit by a car. His death destroys her.

Manuela returns to her past in Barcelona, hooking up with old friends and making some new ones. She reconnects with a transsexual, hooks up with an actress (currently starring as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire) and takes care of a pregnant nun who also happens to be dying of AIDS. This assortment of people are not there to help her put her sons death behind her, but rather to help her come to terms with her past.

Almodovar puts together an odd assortment of tragic figures that are at once arresting, and always symbolic. Antonia San Juan as La Agrado, the transexual prostitute is typically loud and sassy. Despite her own obvious issues she is the strong one of the group. She becomes the matriarch, stepping in when the chips are down for everyone else.

Huma (played by Marisa Paredes) is an aging actress who's own daughter is a drug addict. Playing opposite her daughter in A Streetcar Named Desire, she seems like she has it all together, but she needs Manuela, and later Agrado, to take care of her.

Finally, Penelope Cruz plays Hermana Rosa, a mousy nun. Pregnant and dying of AIDS, she seems like the last thing Manuela needs, but her pain is what becomes necessary for Manuela to become stronger.

All About My Mother is a tearjerker about unlikely people finding solace in each other. True to Almodavar's past work, the storyline is not predictable. Situations and scenes just seem to happen and they don't always have to have a specific or meaningful reason behind them.

All About My Mother is the years best and most talked about foreign film, without a doubt, and by my estimation, far better than that Life Is Beautiful trash that was thrust upon us last year.

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