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I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I watched 'Hable Con
Ella'. All I knew was that it was directed by Pedro Almodovar, who is
considered as one of the biggest talents outside of Hollywood. Well, he
certainly has some talent. A talent to make movies that are not always
easy to watch, but certainly thought provoking, beautiful, compelling
'Hable Con Ella' tells the story of two men who are in love with a woman in a coma and how they both handle this in a different way. They meet each other in the hospital with a beautiful friendship between the two men as a result.
Pedro Almodovar is some kind of artist who likes to paint with words and images. As a result you get a beautiful tale about obsession, love, friendship and desperation, which may not be to everybody's taste because of the bizarre subject, but which certainly touched me. It's very original and I would recommend it to everybody who isn't afraid to watch a movie with a special subject. I give it a 9/10
There are many who say that "Todo Sobre Mi Madre" is his best film, but now that I've seen both these movies, I give the nod - by a long way - to "Hable con Ella". This is a masterpiece, and not just because of the poignancy of the characters, or the story in general, or the way the scenes are shot - watching the matador get dressed was quite engrossing - but EVERYTHING comes together so wonderfully. The brilliance of Spanish-language films never fails to amaze me, and this is another one in that long line of greatness. There will be times where the viewer may feel somewhat uncomfortable with the characters and their actions, but that does not stop Almodovar from exploring such emotions; indeed, one sometimes gets the impression that Almodovar's entire purpose is to make you analyze your own feelings - and simply does it better than anyone else. Recommended for anyone who can read subtitles.
Have you ever noticed that only european cinema, especially french &
spanish, seem able to produce this kind of black whimsical film which
engages you intellectually and leaves you awakened, intrigued and
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had a hard time getting around this movie right after seeing it.
Something was not quite right, something disturbing. But after sleeping
it I think I have it figured out.
I know people read these to find out if a movie is good or not. It is good. It's an effective piece of art which has an interesting and original inner voice. It's thought-provoking.
But it doesn't leave you with anything to hang your hat on. You are not going to come out relating to the characters or situations. Not right away, not until you've digested the whole and figured out what part of it is universal to you.
The key to Marco & Benigno's relationship is that they both don't listen to women - the title of the film can throw you off this trail a bit. They don't listen - and they don't want to.
Marco didn't want to know that this woman wasn't really in love with him. After all, he swept in when she was on the rebound and he "knows desperate women" by his own admission - or does he not really know them, rather, always swoops in like this? That would explain a lot - he has a hard time with normal relationships. He likes a girl on the rebound, or desperate for some reason. He doesn't really want to cope with real love, he just want s his own thing. -
He is selfish. This is not the way one loves. Love is something that is not for you, it is for the one you love.
Does he then gain anything from his friend's problems & suicide? I don't know. But I think in the end that he doesn't. Maybe this is why it is a disturbing film. He is back to crying at this experimental dance. He has already gone back to traveling around on his own instead of leading a life with people. He is back to getting involved with a girl who has problems (girl coming out of a coma counts, I'd say).
Meanwhile, his friend Benigno is the ultimate in "doesn't listen." He idolized this girl from afar, then found the perfect relationship when she couldn't communicate at all. But she was (communicating) - she was saying *nothing* at all, and he was projecting for her. He knew that, in fact, but that didn't matter to him.
Finally, he rapes her under the pretense that she has actually been communicating with him, in the way he wants. Rape is, of course, the ultimate in selfish love. It is an act which defines how "selfish love" is really an oxymoron - it's not love at all. He feels his half of the relationship is enough to make a whole. This is the ultimate loner, I'd say. And we know he never learns, never grows, nothing. He ends up committing suicide. The ultimate in despair.
One might say that Benigno was "good" b/c he had cared for this girl all this time. But that is not what "good" is. He is not caring for her out of dedication to his profession. He is not caring for her out of love. He is doing it b/c he needs it for his own selfish purposes - that is how he feels love. I suppose b/c that is what he had with his mother.
So there is a reason, seemingly - his mother. That would be too easy, though, to just let him slide b/c of that. And to do so, one would have to project something not in the film - we never actually know what the relationship was with this mother.
So then, it's not black & white, but still definite, I think, all reasons aside, in that he is not "good." In fact, I think he has severe problems.
And Marco relates to him...
Perhaps it's hopeful in that ultimately it lays the blame on the characters themselves and doesn't say this is some bigger, unresolveable problem. But from what I saw, it's still pretty depressing.
Rating **** out of ****
Spanish Writer-Director Pedro Almodovar is a filmmaker that always captures strange, and honest moments within his characters emotions-especially women. Such films as "All About My Mother", and "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" support this, but in Almodovar's latest film "Talk To Her"--he does something a little different by making men the protagasnits. It's brilliant, unique, and creative filmmaking at its best. However beneath all the brilliance is a lovely, sweet film that is charming in its own little way.
Almodovar crafts "Talk to Her" with a style that is unique in color and tone, and it has behavioral exposition that is far more mature and tonally sustained than anything he's done before. But the plot is insane as anything that Almodovar's has done before, which makes the movie more of a career-peak change, its a masterpiece constructed on the solid foundation of everything he's previously tried and learned. The movie's great, bad-boy conceit is that its two heroes, wounded-in-love journalist Marco (Dario Grandinetti) and naive nurse Benigno (Javier Camara), are hopelessly in love with women they can't communicate with -- and that really gives the two guys something to talk about, as well as a base for the strongest of friendships. Not that their women are intentionally unreachable; both, you see, are in comas.
By the end of this crazy, heart-thrilling tale, Almodovar has delivered us through un unexpecting film of humor, human emotions, specific human connections, remorse, and philosophies. "Talk to Her" is more than just a run of a talked about foreign film, and having Oscar-Nomination potential-it is one of the best movies of 2002.
Benigno and Marco are both lonely men, Marco because his lover, a woman
bullfighter, is in a coma, Benigno, a thirty-year old virgin Momma's
boy, from habit. Both are in love, too (Benigno, a male nurse at the
clinic, slavishly tends Alicia, a comatose accident victim, for a
living). It is he who gives Marco, with whom he strikes up a
friendship, the eponymous advice: talk, and your heartfelt monologue
will be more meaningful and therapeutic than any marital dialogue.
Seeing Almodóvar's latest film was one of the most pleasurable cinema experiences I have had for some time. He has over the years amassed the technical skill and maturity to put across quite complex stories in a deceptively simple language. From the shock tactics and punk aesthetics of Pepi, Luci, Bom, y otras chicas del montón (1980), to the Oscar-winning melodrama of All About My Mother (1999), he had already come a long way. Here, finally, was an interweaving of the lives of disparate characters that was not only unabashed in its excess (it always had been), it actually made you care deeply.
At first sight Hable con ella looks like being another case study in that famously offbeat, not to say queer, book of life according to Pedro. Almodóvar's scenarios have been no strangers to sex, drugs, and heartrending canción (a particular brand of overwrought singing which knows no real Anglo-Saxon equivalent). In Hable con ella we have bullfighting, a theme he used as an excuse for kinky sex in Matador, given a contemporary treatment in the person of 'torera', Lydia (female bullfighters are indeed beginning to compete in a man's profession). Here too we have the apparently off-the-wall and by now notorious scene from the film-within-the-film, El Amante Minguante, in which a shrunken hero takes refuge in his lover's vagina for protection. But neither is gratuitous gesture: Lydia is designed to counterpoint Marco's almost feminine sensitivity, and the latter sequence, far from being there to shock, is a metaphor to spare us a far more harrowing, and morally problematic, plot truth. The ability to turn kitsch into art is increasingly one of Almodóvar's defining features.
While he often refers to other artforms in his films (reality TV in Kika, Ruth Rendell in Live Flesh, canción in High Heels), since All About My Mother the technique has become more assured. Where that film was a paean to female suffering, via All About Eve and A Streetcar Named Desire, in Hable con ella we have two men sharing a tear over a performance by the dancer Pina Bausch. Other references are the Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso, who sings at a party attended by (uncredited) Cecilia Roth and Marisa Paredes (from Mother), and Michael Cunningham, whose novel The Hours similarly has a tripartite structure where each section deepens and sheds light on the others ('tunnels in caves'). In other words the post-modernist borrowing is rendered invisible by being absorbed into the drama: it is not post-modern any more.
Almodóvar's choice to make a film about the loneliness and longing of men is a courageous one for a very private celebrity, a gamble to follow what might have been the peak of his career, and one which whets our appetite for what is to come.
There are few filmmakers who can tell such a beautiful and sad story as
Almodovar does here. And only he can create such a surreal world that
pulls us in and shows us the beauty and subjectiveness of love. He has
proved just how much a master he has become in the total craft of
The writer has created characters that touch us and seem immensely rich although we see and hear so little; and the director has managed, through the use of color, production design and lighting, to craft their world in such a way as we see what they see and therefore through their relationships, see who they are.
The sensual nature of the film and Almodovar's ability to play with the beauty of the body and the strange intimacy of the characters work to perfection. This will be considered one of the great films of this era.
This is a film about men and their emotions. One man has a relationship with
a woman, the most famous female matador in Spain. He cries over the most
strange things. The female matador gets in a coma. The other man is in love
with a woman, he has only spoken to her once. The man is a male nurse and
when the woman gets in a coma he is the one to take care of her. Some people
around him thinks he is gay so he is allowed to take care of her, see her
naked, touch her. The two men get to know each other while waiting at the
beds of their loved ones.
I will not reveal what happens with the two women, or with the men. The way the subject is handled is great. In one way we see the two man devoting their lives two women. In another way we see the creepy part of that. For example we know the male nurse is in love with the one he is taking care of, and as I said, he sees naked every day. The woman seems to be an obsession, the man seems to be obsessed. We have sympathy for the men anyway.
The acting is good, a very intelligent story and a great direction makes this film one of the year's best. In the end you will have a strange feeling, and a good feeling as well.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In spite of being driven to the top rank of art cinema directors with
his critically acclaimed sensation "About My Mother," and being unlike
other directors of equivalent status who have been chosen to work
within the rootless world of the international co-productions,
Almodóvar has remained instilled in the rich culture of his native
In "Talk to Her" the two main protagonists are men, unusually for Almodóvar, whose films have been notable for a succession of powerful and striking female roles Benigno is a male nurse who is employed to care for a dancer (Alicia) in a coma after a car accident At the private clinic he meets Marco, a journalist who is in love with Lydia, a female bullfighter also in a coma after being gored by a bull They become friends and Benigno persuades Marco that he must talk to Lydia, even if she cannot hear (therefore the title). But then we lean that the likable and amiable Benigno has raped Alicia, the woman who is in love with her
European art cinema has a great tradition but an uncertain future in the world increasingly dominated by Hollywood Almodóvar is an ornament of European culture which proved that the form still has much to say about the human condition and can say it with charm, elegance, and attractiveness
On watching "Talk To Her", one of the first things you will notice is the
beauty of film-work involved. The colours are rich and saturated, the image
is crisp and the camera work is superb. Smooth panning shots and steady
zooms guide you safely though s slightly fractured narrative, cutting
between the past, present and future on occasions.
This discontinuity, however, isn't confusing to the viewer and is, in fact, far from it. The cast act and speak so clearly that it is a perfect introduction to anyone new to foreign language film and, aside from the minor plot-line of bullfighting, there aren't an abundance of Spanish cultural references.
This film, essentially, is a complex story laid out in an extremely simple form. It is not a film you will forget and, no doubt, will think about a lot after watching it. Also, unlike a lot of critically acclaimed films, you will not be cogitating over the events that took place in the film, you will be asking yourself how they apply to your life and relationships with others. Despite "Talk To Her"'s tragic story, it is an incredibly fun film to watch and discuss with others and a film I am extremely glad I added to my collection, having heard little about it at the time I bought it. 9/10
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