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In Madrid, the divorced middle-age pianist Sofía discloses to her daughters Elvira, Gimena and Sol on the day of her birthday that she is in love with the talented Czechoslovak pianist Aliska, who is twenty-years younger than she. The bigoted sisters are shocked with the revelation and do not accept the idea that their mother is lesbian. Elvira is an insecure and neurotic young aspirant writer that has a lousy job in a publishing house; Sol is the singer of a rock band; and Gimena is married with a boy and has a troubled marriage with Raúl. When they discover that her mother has lent all her savings to support the education of Aliska, they decide to seduce the girlfriend to make her leave their mother. But when Aliska returns to her country alone and their mother is very depressed, they need to try to revert the situation. Meanwhile the nervous Elvira meets the writer Miguel and has a clumsy relationship with him. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A Lighter Touch Than Almodovar: Leonor Watling Steals the Scenes!
"My Mother Likes Women" is the story of a divorced Madrid concert pianist, Sofia (Rosa Maria Sarda), who stuns her three daughters with the announcement that she has a female live-in lover, a pianist twenty or more years her junior, Eliska (Eliska Sirova). Eliska is a talented Czech studying with Sofia. The two are clearly in love.
Sofia's daughters, alternating between trying to accept mom's relationship and being aghast at her taking up with a young woman - or ANY woman - are a handful. The oldest, Gimena (Maria Pujalte), is in a deteriorating marriage which she stays in for the sake of her young son. The youngest, Sol (Sylvia Abascal), is a sharp-tongued rock singer with multi-hued long hair. Most interesting - and really the center of directors Daniela Fejerman and Ines Paris's comedy/drama - is the middle daughter, Elvira, played with extraordinary range and zest by Leonor Watling.
The daughters concoct a harebrained scheme to break up their mother's relationship and send Eliska packing. The plan has only two serious flaws: conception and execution. The intended resolution falls prey to pratfalls and comedic miscalculations. At least for a while.
There really are two stories here, Sofia and her lover and the trio's interaction with them and the saga of screwball Elvira, an employee at a publishing house, who always manages to mess up and ruin any promising relationship. Deep in therapy with a somewhat seedy psychologist, she's trying to figure out why all her self-fulfilling prophecies of doom invariably come to dreadful fruition.
Complicating her life is her growing attraction to established (and very handsome) author Miguel (Chisco Amado) who's both drawn to the very beautiful Elvira and sent running off scared by her flighty, immature behavior.
Leonor Watling is terrific as a neurotic in full bloom. Her insight into her very counter-productive behavior grows believably as the story unfolds. Watling has that special ability to telegraph her emotions in effective and often captivating split-second shots - she reminds me very much of the better known French actress Audrey Tautou.
All the cast members are excellent but Watling steals this film.
There are some nice scenes of Prague and piano pieces by Bach, Schubert and Beethoven add to the aural attractiveness of the film.
Almodovar would have made these women more introspective and, surely, both bitingly cynical and more neurotic. Painfully neurotic. These women are too nice for the typical Almodovar flick. "My Mother Likes Women" presents complex characters in an appealing, not overly analyzed light.
Simply very enjoyable.
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