Volver (2006) Poster

(I) (2006)

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A telenovela in script, a masterpiece in screen.
sarahilayda125 September 2017
I'm a huge fan of Pedro Almodovar and this movie was no disappointment.

I mean if you would just read the script it looks like a telenovela but it's directed in such a way that it becomes this very human drama that leaves you in a void after watching.

I would definitely suggest you watching this if you're into dramas with great acting and of course, Pedro Almodovar.

Very real, human and emotional.

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Powerful film by Almodovar
jamariana12 July 2017
I would classify almost all of the films I have seen by Pedro Almodovar as some of my favourite movies of all time. "Volver" is one of those beautiful films. I love Almodovar's use of colour in all his movies. I love how his main character is almost always a strong, incredible woman, except in the instances where Antonio Banderas leads or in films like "Mala Educacion". "Volver" is a beautiful story, so wonderfully original, creative, and interesting. How many movies out there feature such an amazing plot? Penelope Cruz, too, was an excellent actress in this film. She is one of my favourite Spanish actresses and I think it's great that she has received a lot of fame from Hollywood, especially within the last decade. This is a great film, definitely worth watching. It is absolutely enthralling.
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Penelope Cruz amazing film loved it
Warning: Spoilers
This was incredible experience. I loved every minute of i can't believe i took ten years to finally see it. It was beautifully shot and Penelope Cruz was amazing she deserved the Oscar nomaination. The woman that played the mother was also incredible this one of the best foreign films I have ever seen. Im so glad I've seen it now this was my first Almadolvar experience i now want see Talk To Her which i shall watch online today.

I highly recommend this film

4 stars
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All-Around Great Movie with a Great Critique of Spanish Culture
Andrew Watson11 April 2017
Let's get it out of the way and say this is a good film. However, some of the cultural aspects of the film will be lost on a non-Spanish culture (a lot of America). That's not a bad thing, it's just an observation. If you never took Spanish class or never seen Spain or a Spanish-speaking country, some of the things might seem weird. Or maybe I'm overthinking it.

The film offers a great critique on the culture of Spain, showing, while not directly saying it, that sexual assault in Spain is a problem that needs addressing. The film doesn't try to hid how these acts affect people, which is a rarity in films even today (although this is changing fast). The film also shows how family structure differs from us over here in the US. With all that, this film would be a good intro if you want to learn about the culture and realities of Spain.

My only real complaint is that some of the pacing in this film is a little off and some of the acting, especially by the character Sole, can be a little over-done. But that's my only two complaint. Color, symbolism, metaphor and a touch of reality help elevate this film to a level that is unique to avant-garde film, without being so artsy that only super film buffs will like it.
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Another Pedro Almodovar masterpiece
kijii18 November 2016
In 1999, under the direction of Pedro Almodovar, All About My Mother won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film with a basically all female cast. (The cast received a collective Best Actress Award at Cannes for that film.) Here he uses a similar formula for a story based in Madrid.

As this movie begins, two sisters, Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) and Sole (Lola Dueñas) as well as Raimunda's daughter, Paula (Yohana Cobo) are attending to the grave site of the sisters' late parents who had died when their house burned down. While looking after their parent's tombstone, the sisters and Paula decide to drop in on their Aunt Paula. After visiting with her, they are both amazed at her apparent slippage into senility. Tia Paula seems to be living partly in the present and partly in the past, as she mention's her sister (the daughters' dead mother) as if she had recently and frequently visited her in her home. Although Sole says such 'sighting of the dead' is common in that town, the two daughters are concerned and consider that their aunt may need to live in a nursing home. However, when they stop in to see their old childhood friend, Agustina (Blanca Portillo), she assures them that she will look in on their aunt every day.

When the three women return to Madrid, we learn about Raimunda's drunk husband, Paco (Antonio de la Torre),who has just lost his job. Later, when Raimunda returns from her job, Paula, meets her to tell her that she had just killed Paco when he tried to molest her. Desperate, Raimunda tells her daughter to keep the killing a secret. Mother and daughter then go about cleaning up the killing and hiding the body. Raimunda is determined to hide the killing by simply saying that her no- good husband had left them. It seems to work!! No one asks much about Paco after that.

A problem arises when Augstina calls Raimunda to let her know that her Aunt Paula had just died. Neither Sole nor Augstina can understand why Raimunda will not go to the funeral, but Raimunda has more immediate problems: How to make ends meet while keeping her husbands killing a secret. To make money, she uses her vacationing friend's restaurant by catering to a crew that is shooting a film nearby.

As if things couldn't get more strange, Sole sees their dead mother, Irene (Carmen Maura), in town. But how? And why? And why now? Suddenly, the mother starts to appear to more often to both her daughters AND her granddaughter. The resulting outcome blends a murder mystery with a possible ghost story and that leaves you wondering as you exit the theater.

However, this adult fairy tale entertains with several angles and is packed with comedy, pathos, and a modern sense of a Spanish Gothic tale. The great thing about this movie is its multifaceted incredibility. The best parts of this movie have not even been covered yet...
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Review in Spanish
julnat-863754 November 2016
Volver (2006) is a film with a lot of action and emotion. These aspects are very important in this film because these are necessary to make a good movie. The actors and actresses perfectly executed their roles and includes some personal aspects. They reflect the culture of life in the movie and individual characteristics. For that reason, the movie did well in cinematography, humor, and mystery. It portrays the powerful emotions of anger, pain, and love. For example, the murder of Paco creates drama and suspense. Ghosts create mysteries and show the special character of Irene. Raimunda is seen as generous and proud, Soledad as prudent, and Paula as naive. This film explores many things in life and represents the idea that family relationships are the most important in many situations. As the actors communicate emotion so well, we can relate to actors and reflect on our lives. Lately, I recommend this movie to people who prefer introspective and exciting films.
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Learning a culture in a movie
jbeatty-285502 November 2016
Generally, Volver is a very interesting movie for many reasons. For example, in my opinion, Volver describes the culture, tradition and Spanish society creatively to the common person. Volver is the combination of all the information on the family in Spain, human relations and life in Spain in general. On the one hand, the plot of the movie is about the return of a person from the dead. The main character of the film, Raimunda, is played by Penelope Cruz. Raimunda's mother, Irene, is the main plot of the film, and her return to the life of Raimunda has large implications. In the final moments of Volver, the situation between Raimunda and her family is resolved, and the audience learns a lot about all the characters. On the other hand, the plot of Back is very important because no other plot would show the culture of Spain as well. For that reason, Volver has many small details and scenes that the audience needs to understand. In my opinion, I love the scene when Raimunda and Paula are in the kitchen with Paco's body with a knife in his hands. At this time, there is a combination of comedy, crime and drama, the film genres in my opinion. Raimunda is a very nice person, but also very crazy in the eyes of the audience. This combination of human relations and a small part of comedy is crucial to understand the culture of Spain. Therefore, it is my recommendation to see the film Volver and learn about the culture of Spain in a very short time. The director, the actors and the plot of the film are perfect for a rainy day, but you have to see the movie to understand the situation with the body of Paco and the knife in the hand of Raimunda.
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Aldomovar is very good at making female characters.
Miguel Neto30 October 2016
Volver is one of the most acclaimed films of Pedro Almodovar, I watched the recent film of his Juliet, and was disappointed, since in Volver in liked the movie is a good movie, the cast is very good, Penelope Cruz this impeccable, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas and Yohana Cobo are all well, the rest of the cast is competent, the dialogues are good, some are funny, the script is very good, can use very well the characters, the direction of Almodovar is good, the soundtrack is cool , is going to really like the picture is great, the rhythm is good, more can lose strength at times have unnecessary moments, the more I liked the movie, Aldomovar is good at making great female characters. Note 7.6
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Good ensemble acting but a warped screenplay that did not deserve the Cannes accolade
Jugu Abraham7 October 2016
After a second viewing over a 10 year gap, I am once again convinced this is an average quality film. Almodovar has never made me sit up as a film director, but Penelope Cruz and all the female cast are indeed a delight to watch and deserved the Cannes accolade. The prize for the best screenplay is possibly not justifiable.

Madness and incest might appeal to Almodovar, not to sane and morally upright folks. What was the reason for the overhead gratuitous shot of Cruz' cleavage when she is cooking? In this film, even murder seems OK under certain circumstances. That's not what a filmmaker's stand ought to be. And to award this film for its screenplay is a warped logic. Sorry, it is one of the few occasions a Cannes jury got its judgement wrong!
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A good Almodovar
Charlie Picart26 September 2016
It's always a pleasure to jump into the universe of Pedro Almodovar's women. The directing of the actresses, the sets, the mise en scène, it's all beautifully done - "as usual" one is almost tempted to say.

Though the setting can be weird at times - somewhat dark and unsettling - it all works out in the end and all is resolved very satisfyingly and strongly.

Penelope Cruz is no doubt one of the high points of the movie - the character is strong, complex and Cruz is fascinating and a pleasure to follow.

Overall, a good movie, recommended.
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a little wacky and a little intense
SnoopyStyle6 December 2015
Raimunda (Penélope Cruz), her sour sister Sole and her daughter Paula travel to their home town to visit her mother Irene's grave. Irene had died in a fire with her husband. Irene's senile sister Paula insists that Irene is still alive and living with her. Their friend Agustina takes care of Paula. The three women return to Madrid. Paula kills her drunken unemployed stepdad Paco after he tried to rape her. Raimunda tries to cover it up by hiding the body in a freezer. Sole goes to Paula's funeral alone and encounters her mother's spirit who starts haunting her. That's before everybody's secrets are revealed.

This has Pedro Almodóvar's touches of colorful visual style, a little bit of Hitchcock, a lot of quirky supernatural and Penélope Cruz. It has fun bodied humor. The only problem is a nagging question of why she had to cover up Paco's death. A simple little scene could easily give her a reason. It could be as easy as Paco bragging about his policemen buddies. It would make the cover-up more logical. Actingwise, Penélope Cruz has never been better. She is a big time screen presence and so radiant.
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pretty clean for a movie that deals with incest , murder , cancer and ghosts :D
nox0928 May 2015
very bright drama about incest in several generation of women with some quirky humor and comedy in it . plot is interesting but its all over the place and it never came together . you see the plot twist coming from miles away. some of the actions from characters just don't feel real , the way sisters react to their mother being alive really annoyed me . besides that , the acting in the movie was very good . I understand that it's not important for the story but seriously nobody started to look for Paco ? maybe its because movie tries to be more artistic . If Almodovar is trying to tell us that mens are pigs rapists and womens need to stay bond together and be strong to live among mens i guess he succeed......... overall pretty good movie with bright colors , quirky Spanish humor ( that i don't like but some people may enjoy ) and strong performance from Cruz.
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Dramatic and intense Almodovar movie full of mystery , intrigue and twisted events
ma-cortes27 May 2015
Good film including interesting drama , colorful cinematography , sensitive score and nice interpretations by all Spanish cast . Offbeat black drama/suspense movie about an occupied housewife called Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) becomes involved with family problems . She lives in Madrid with her daughter Paula (Yohana Cobo) and her hubby Paco (Antonio De La Torre) , a drunken and violent man . The housewife's spinster sister Sole (Lola Dueñas) is increasingly convinced that their mom has returned from the dead . The two sisters lost their parents in a fire in the village of Alcanfor de las Infantas (La Mancha) , their birth location , years ago . Their aunt, Paula (Chus Lampreave) , still lives in the Mancha and goes on to believe her sister Irene (Carmen Maura) , mother of the two sisters , has returned from the dead as if she were still alive . When the old aunt dies the situation changes and the happenings go wrong . Then , a self-defense murder takes place and Raimunda has to hide the body . Later on , Sole works clandestinely as a hairstylist for women helped by a mysterious person . After that , the movie shifts into a more profound register as the roles haunted by various ghosts are systematically disturbed and the past returns.

Enjoyable film incorporating serious-comic effects about the theme of maternal love , full of feeling , outlandish characters , haunting mood-pieces , Spanish Neo-realism , fun scenes, strange humor , and a totally satisfactory sense of style . The picture deals with mysterious drama , off-the-wall comedy , absurdities familiar , plenty of twists of mystery and suspense and many other things ; featuring a feminist heroine of classical proportions . For the first half , the movie goes agreeable and amiable with flashy brilliance along its jaunty way , pausing for serious thought until when occurs a killing . The picture is pretty well , it turns out to be superior to Almodovar's previous and subsequent entries . Filmmaker piles up on the contrivances , turns and twisted events so that the picture to have success . The result is undiluted scabrous drama , sharp images and a crazy strings of plots . It's a piquant look at lower classes involving twists and an intrigue about killings , disappearance and keeping the spectator intriguing and amazing . Flawless story with a quartet of sensational protagonists , including an unforgettable Penelope Cruz , she parades sexily at her best and more relaxed and enticing than ever . The hit of the show is undoubtedly for the fetching Penelope who gives one of the best screen acting . She sings marvelously a lovely rendition of the Carlos Gardel tango of the movie's title . I liked everyone in the excellent cast, and the male and female actors , especially Penelope Cruz , were all very attractive , she became the first Spanish actress ever to be nominated for Best Lead Actress at the Oscars . According to Pedro Almodóvar, there's only one fake element in Raimunda/Penélope Cruz body : the bottom . He said that this kind of characters are usually big-bottomed people, and that Cruz is just too stylized . Support cast is frankly well such as Blanca Portillo , Yohana Cobo , Chus Lampreave , Pepa Arniote , Antonio de la Torre and other delightfully played roles . Special mention for Carmen Maura , this was first movie of Pedro Almodóvar and Carmen Maura together in 18 years ; heir friendship broke after shooting "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" . Emotive soundtrack by Alberto Iglesias , Almodoval's usual . Glamorous and brilliant cinematography by Jose Luis Alcaine . Alcaine was first cinematographer to use fluorescent tube as "key" lightning and deemed to be one of the best Spanish cameramen . Alcaine frequently works with Pedro Almodóvar , Bigas Luna and Vicente Aranda , he has photographed a lot of successes .

The motion picture was realized in his peculiar style by Pedro Almodovar ; he often uses symbolism and metaphorical techniques to portray circular story lines though here he directs a special melodrama , including his ordinary touches . Almodovar directs throughout with splendid zip and he usually portrays strong female characters and transsexuals and along his career getting some important international prizes . His first feature film, Pepi, Luci, Bom (1980), was made in 16 mm and blown-up to 35 mm for public release . In 1987, he and his brother Agustín Almodóvar established their own production company : El Deseo, S. A. The "Almodóvar phenomenon" has reached all over the world , making his films very popular in many countries . Oscar-winning Spanish director Pedro Almodovar who made successes such as Labyrinth of passions , Law of desire , Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown , Bad education , All about my mother , Talk to her , Broken embraces , The Skin I Live In and many others . The latest from acclaimed Spanish director , Pedro Almodovar's I'm So Excited (Los Amantes Pasajeros) competing for the inaugural best European comedy honor during the upcoming 26th edition of the European Film Awards ; the latter however , being a flop and badly paced comedy .
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Women and their secrets
brchthethird21 March 2015
VOLVER is only my second foray into Pedro Almodovar, and it was a strangely compelling watch even if I predicted a couple of the narrative twists long before they were actually revealed. Without going into detail, the story is about how women deal with death, secrets and, in general, familial relationships. Despite not having seen only two by Almodovar, I am aware that most of his films are centered around strong female protagonists, and this is no exception. Penelope Cruz does an excellent job portraying a mother who works hard to provide for her family, and the rest of the cast do great work as well. Also worth mentioning is the excellent production design and vibrant color scheme which make the film really beautiful to look at. There's also a great song which shares its title with (and predates) the film. My only complaint has to do with how predictable the plot was, at least to me. That being said, VOLVER is a well-acted, directed and produced film by a master director.
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Women and their secrets
The Couchpotatoes22 February 2015
Another good movie from Pedro Almodóvar. I certainly enjoyed the whole movie even though normally it's not the kind of movies I go for. I would not call this a comedy but rather a drama with some mystery. With mysteries I like it when I don't see the end coming. And with this one I was surprised and that's what makes it a better movie then most other ones in that same genre. The whole story is a bit strange but it keeps you well interested. It's about women and their secrets and sticking together. Penélope Cruz and Carmen Maura both gave a good performance and were a pleasure to watch. For Penélope Cruz it even was one of her best roles so thus far.
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Almodovar returns to his origins
Alma Jimenez Ochomogo27 January 2015
The film marks "the return" of Almodóvar to his place of origin. The movie takes place in the region of La Mancha in Spain, where the director was born and raised. The director's familiarity with the region and characters make the film rich in those details that only great piece of films have. Pedro Almodóvar knows his characters, their ways, their tastes, and their customs.

In one scene, Raymunda -character masterfully played by Penelope Cruz- arrives to visit her aunt. The way they greet each other with several kisses on the cheek and the references to the sweets they eat, creates three-dimensional characters, as well as a story within these little details. To Return, without any doubt, is an incredible personal film to Almodóvar and for the audience a real joy.
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Intriguing and graceful
Red_Identity26 December 2014
Almodovar certainly has a reputation, one of being fiery, passionate, vibrant, perhaps a little too energized. The film, despite being wonderfully colorful in ways you'd expect, is relatively low- key and very grounded, despite its premise that initially initiates the film's plot. There are pretty melodramatic things happening to these characters, but the film is never content on turning it into a cheesefest. It could've easily become too unrealistic, too sappy, too over-the-top (like, admittedly, Almodovar has done in the past). Instead, it remains a mostly graceful, incredibly- acted film. This is strongly recommended, no doubt.
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"Volver", by Almodóvar
lauranunezquero5 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Death, folklore, traditions and family bonds are the main themes explored in "Volver". This film, written and directed the Spanish filmmaker, presents to the audience a story of a hard working mother named Raimunda and all her struggles in life; starting by the death of both of her parents in a fire years before, and moving on to her dysfunctional marriage and her relationship with her only daughter, Paula.

The film depicts diverse elements of the traditional Spanish culture and how it has evolved with time, tying the past and recent times in the routines of the women of the small town of Alcanfor de Las Infantas at the region of La Mancha, in Spain. At the very beginning of the film it can be seen how this ladies clean and take care of the graves in which their loved ones are buried, especially their husbands, just as if they were still alive. They also explain how it is tradition for everyone to keep their own grave ready for when the time comes.

Almodóvar points out with detail in this movie the effusive and warm relationship between neighbors and friends in general, as a significant quality of the Spanish manners. However, this all seems to be just an introduction for the real plot of the film, which is death and the common belief in ghosts. This element is the one that justifies the title "Volver", which translated to English means literally "to return", because the character of Irene (Carmen Maura), Raimunda and her sister Soledad's mother, "returns from death" supposedly to take care of her elder sister, Aunt Paula.

From that moment on in the film the filmmaker challenges the imagination of the audience with the presence of this character that seems to change the whole story, when in reality it is the main story-line, and what at first appeared to be the most relevant issue, which was the murder of Raimunda's husband, ends up being secondary. From this moment on the acts of deception and betrayal start to play a very important role in the development of the story.

"Volver" sets a good example of the common life of the lower class Spanish families and the presence of Latin American and Caribbean immigrants in this European nation; most of them living with an irregular migratory status, which makes then take any job they can get and do many other commercial activities like prostitution or assistance in criminal acts for the money, even though this goes against their moral and ethical beliefs. This is showcased in the characters of Regina and Ines.

In the film Almodóvar uses colors, especially red, as a way to transmit strong emotions. Also, music is one other element that supports the beauty and magical flow that somehow the movie has. Another point to mention is Penelope Cruz's work, which can be described as notably natural and much more emotional, establishing a big difference between her Hollywood roles and this one, maybe just because of the type of character, but also for obvious cultural reasons. In addition to this, her long lasting artistic relationship with Almodóvar, with whom she had worked several times before, could have been a point in favor of her strong performance.
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Come to terms with your past.
ABoyMadeOfDust5 February 2014
Plot is a vehicle. Last time a daughter had a bad blood with her mother (Hig Heels/Tacones Lejanos 1991), a lot of unavoidable and unreconciled pain and regret remained. That's the beauty of this film: the peace that brings to face your past and make amends, a thing that, in Almodóvar's world, only women can achieve. Women are (because he grew up surrounded by them) kind, solidary, reliable, independent, loving and tough in many ways. Therefore, relationships sustained by women are honest, pure and strong. The almost 2 hour long portrait of the many family conflicts and afflictions of Raymunda, sister Sole, daughter Paula, friend Agustina and the ghost of her dead mother Irene, is beautifully shot with vivid colors, spontaneous lines, sometimes sassy, sometimes ironic, sometimes deep, and with a sharp and fine sense of humor, despite the plot's clear dramatic story line. It's strange and funny how the women of this family live such similar lives, deaths, marriages, love and loss, almost as if there was a family course or a shared/inherited destiny. Volver is a slow film with subtle performances (Almodóvar is a great Actor's director). Carmen Maura (Irene), arguably the greatest Almodóvar Girl, is once again remarkable after 18 years of estrangement with Pedro, which is another reason for Volver's greatness, as well as the relativeness of Penelope Cruz's discovery as a solid and powerful lead (Sergio Catellito's Don't Move/Non ti mouvere happened before). Volver is not precisely a fashionable or entertaining flick, but a folkloric and a bit surreal one, elegant in it's own way, and not for everyone to watch. I find it touching and beautiful, and, because I also grew up surrounded by women like the ones depicted, I feel very related to it, which is why I easily can call it My Favourite Film.
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Plain wonderful
Ersbel Oraph7 November 2013
Almodovar is a good director. A competent director. I know he can shock the audience. The story is never about the shock. But talking about certain subjects is way beyond the boundaries of normal for the middle class. Compared with his other stories, I was not caring much about this one.

Starting with the opening titles Almodovar captivated me. An impeccable image. Camera moves the right way. Actors, in fact actresses, move the right way. The young Penelope of Bigas Luna turns into a woman, the innocence turns into the will to survive.

Twenty minutes into the story I found myself captivated into the perfection of the image. I could watch the whole thing without sound or subtitles. Pleasure. Visual pleasure. Than the story hit me! No guilt. No canned morals. No good. No evil. No angels. No demons. People. Being people. And surviving. A truly positive story.

Loved every minute of it. Thank you Mr. Almodovar.

Contact me with Questions, Comments or Suggestions ryitfork @ bitmail.ch
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Interesting and enjoyable... Definitely different...
Andy Steel22 July 2013
With a predominantly female cast, the story is unveiled in quite a refreshing and unusual way. I have to admit I did like the way everything was taken in a very practical way. No navel gazing going on here! All the performances were excellent with Penélope Cruz showing us just what a great actress she is, this time in her native tongue. Although I felt it was good, I didn't feel it was great; maybe a second viewing at a later date might knock it over that level, but for now, it didn't quite get over the line. Still, there is much to admire here and I'm glad I took the time to give it a look.

SteelMonster's verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.4/10.

You can find an expanded version of this review on my blog: Thoughts of a SteelMonster.
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Re-volver (dvd)
leplatypus17 June 2013
Well, the pun is maybe easy and not understandable. It means that for one time, it's good to see a movie without guns, violence, attacks, slaughters, vengeance, gangsters, policeman, soldiers, politics that's the main thematic of cinema today.

Next, I owe a apology to Mr. Almodovar. I literally crushed him with my review of " abrazos rotos" (but it's such a crap either). If this movie still shows me that he's a bit short on imagination as he only writes from his life, at least this movie is really a fine piece. In addition, he is a nice fellow and the commentary he provides with Penélope is funny: Pené doesn't talk too much as she is deep into the movie while Almodovar really details every scene and it was great to hear him.

About the movie, I must say that it really moves me but I can't exactly pinpoint why. Maybe as it's a trip into the heart of one single common family, it talks about things we live everyday. Here, Pené has to work to support her daughter, she shares everything with her relatives. So it's not about money, big things, but it's love, solidarity for your family and neighbors. Contrary to our French cinema that tries to do the same with soppiness and psychosis, here, the atmosphere is happy, light and the paranormal touch adds twits to the story. In addition to being humble, the movie is also strong by sticking to veracity and paying homage to the folklore and habits of the old people in the village. Maybe that's what it talks to me, as my old folks lived also in small villages: like the family, we have to take the car to visit and finally bury them before going back to the town.

If Pené has a golden part here and brings all her talent in it, she finds also an excellent counterpart with her sister played by Lola Duenas, that could pass for Noomi's sister as well because the two shares this Iberian stance. As for the others members that are more deeply rooted with the village, it's maybe harsh but true to say that they appear rightly appear as ghosts, ill, shave, as it's an old world that disappears slowly but surely… It's like the Springsteen song "my hometown": there's a lot of nostalgia about our roots and we'd better try to remember it and not run away from them!
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Are there things I should know and don't?
Ben Larson27 April 2013
One expected Pedro Almodovar to push the envelope with his films. One does not expect to be moved almost to tears with a conventional and touching story about love and secrets and family.

Penelope Cruz was absolutely stunning in this film. Hiding her past and thinking of her daughter when she faced the same trauma she experienced. Trauma that afflicts one out of four women and caused a rift with her mother; as is often the case.

Included in the magnificent cast was Carmen Maura (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), who has won a shelf-full of awards for her acting, as her mother; Lola Dueñas (The Sea Inside), who was superb as her sister; Blanca Portillo, who can currently be seen in Goya's Ghosts, as the villager who lived across the street; Yohana Cobo as the daughter; and Chus Lampreave (Talk to Her) as Aunt Paula. A greater collection of women can hardly be imagined.

If there is anything to approach criticism of this movie, it has to be seeing Cruz on the toilet. I could have lived without that in my memory of such a fine actress.
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Surprising threads
Cinish Narayanan9 October 2012
Somehow, I had a prejudice that this movie is not that good and I had stalled picking this up from the library for long. Having seen so many movies over the past few years, it is a pleasant surprise when a movie presents you something totally fresh. This movie presented that surprise.When you watch a magic show, you want to be fooled.This movie fools you happy. Almodovar presents complex emotional plots usually.Here he has done the same thing but has added a very surprising dimension to the emotional plot.The movie seems to start off with characterizations and representation of the family, the relationships and then something major happens that can easily pass off as the central thread of the movie.We follow this thread in earnest.Meanwhile, other hazy threads are presented which you keep in your secondary cache. Suddenly one of these threads assume mammoth proportions like the story of the worm in the apple that grows into a snake and killed the king.Once this hazy thread erects, the rest of the movie shrinks into oblivion and revolves around this axis..You realize that the main thread that you were following so far is just an offshoot of this one. The movie presents so many surprising things all through the movie and finally the movie makes complete sense of all these.There are no gimmicks in the movie. It is such a long drama and presents a lot of everyday situations but I was never bored all through the movie.This beats 'Hawaii,Oslo' to be the best movie I have watched so far this year.
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Feeling Warm and Fuzzy Despite All the Crime
3xHCCH14 September 2012
I finally got the chance to see this famous movie while I was on a long haul flight from Detroit to Japan. I have not seen an Almodovar film for a long time, and this one has all the right ingredients for one.

It is a film with females only as the main characters, led by the lovely Penelope Cruz as Raimunda. She was ably supported by Carmen Maura (as her mother Irene), Lola Duenas (as her sister Sole), Chus Lampreave (as her aunt Paula), Yohana Cobo (as her daughter Paula) and a sublime Blanca Portillo (as her friend Agustina). I was pleasantly but not really surprised to learn after watching this that they all won the Best Actress award in the Cannes Film Festival of 2006 as their work here was really an excellent ensemble.

Almodovar is really a master at telling these unusual stories with much emotional connection with the audience. He has these camera angles that make even the most mundane of scenes unique. Seeing the busty Penelope cooking eggs from the top vantage point was a sight to behold!

The story about women supporting women in the direst of situations is so neatly told, it felt satisfying and nice. Yes, even when there is a lot of adultery, incest and murder underlying it all. I do not really know if that is good or not. Everything seemed too convenient in the name of cinematic license. But you can't deny you would feel warm and fuzzy afterwards, and that felt good.
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