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Manolete
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Reviews & Ratings for
A Matador's Mistress More at IMDbPro »Manolete (original title)

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44 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

What did the director expect from this movie?

4/10
Author: pzanardo (pzanardo@math.unipd.it) from Padova, Italy
3 November 2010

Since, after all, a movie is meant to be seen by an audience, I don't get what the director Meyjes expected from his work "Manolete".

Indeed, the "aficionados" (i.e. corrida-lovers) can only feel outraged by the huge amount of falsities and distortions, concerned with both life and personality of the actual Manolete, that one finds in the movie. On the other hand, the large majority of people, being corrida-haters, will be uninterested, if not deeply bored, by a straightforward love story of a torero and his mistress, worth of a cheap XIXth century novel. (The actual love story of Manolete and Lupe Sino was much more psychologically intriguing than the stuff shown in the movie.)

Speaking of the movie, the photography is fine, and the costumes are beautiful. The jobs of Brody as the torero and Penelope Cruz as Lupe Sino are acceptable. There is some very short but interesting 1940s footage of the true Manolete fighting in the plaza de toros. However, the film badly fails in recreating the atmosphere of Spain in the years after the civil war.

Indeed, the inaccuracies of the movie are really dismaying. Lupe Sino is surprised seeing that a torero wears pink socks. C'mon! It's like showing a young American woman not knowing that football players wear helmets! Manolete enters a crowded hall, participates to parties, and everybody ignores him. C'mon! It's like seeing Michael Jordan unnoticed at a meeting of basketball fans! Manolete's popularity was literally unbelievable all over the world, among common people, as well as among big time politicians and major cinema stars, that fought to have him at their social events. A couple of instances. When Manolete died, Winston Churchill sent a personal message of condolence to his mother. The Mexican government was forced to cut some scheduled corridas, since people didn't buy food to save money for the tickets of Manolete's bullfights (source: "Time Magazine" year 1946).

The movie also contains a number of so obvious clichés, like the torero's greedy relatives, or the fatuous and hypocritical catholic priests, or the incompetent doctors (this latter a really dirty slander!), etc. Of course, to know something of the actual Manolete, you have to neglect the character shown in the movie, and rather read some of the dozens of books dedicated to him, even in very recent years. Indeed, I bet that in this very moment someone is writing a book on the legendary torero.

The portrait made of Lupe Sino is liable of aggravated defamation. Forget that Lupe was much younger and more beautiful than Cruz, and that, obviously, she was an aficionada, contrary to the character of the movie. Forget that Lupe was a smiling, sweet-tempered, cheerful girl, deeply in love with her man, contrary to the perpetual ferocious grudge against everybody and everything shown by Cruz's "Lupe". What is unacceptable is that the film- maker turns her into an unfaithful, spiteful, foul-mouthed bum.

As far as I know, the movie "Manolete" was badly unsuccessful, as predictable. I didn't like it.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Short on Manolete, extremely short on bullfighting, and long on Penelope Cruz

4/10
Author: from Canada
16 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Remembered as one of the world's greatest matadors, I thought that there might be some clues into this person, or into what might draw someone to the controversial world of the bullring. Instead the story made Manolete out to be a love-sick puppy, somewhat clueless, and focused entirely on dying. (Don't know if this is really a spoiler, since the film begins with his funeral.)

The cinematography is beautiful. The acting itself is good, and Adrian Brody is a scary dead-ringer, so to speak, for the man himself. Penelope Cruz is also good as the passionate temptress. Hollywood, of course, has to focus entirely on the woman's figure, and the turbulent romance, at the exclusion of all else that probably made up what was a fascinating life.

I wouldn't watch it again.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

This movie failed because it was taken from the original writer and distorted

Author: alison-868-991935 from Vancouver Canada
20 November 2011

Nice costumes and great actors do not make a movie great. A good story does. Too bad the original writer, Bill Crown, was bumped out of the process by those who hijacked the project. I guess Karma decided the fate of the film.

1200 pages of research were prepared but obviously not used. This is a story about a real man living in real times. Taking poetic liberties is fine, but there has to be authenticity for a film like this to work.

Brody hot off his Oscar was perfectly suited to the role. Penelope Cruise, wisely selected as the love interest also internationally recognized, should have brought forth faithful followers. A formula that would have worked had not the intentions of the story been skewed so far off mark.

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15 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Good acting, good scenery, good bullfighting scenes, OK movie. Slow but moving in parts, worth a watch. I say B-

5/10
Author: Tony Heck (cosmo_tiger@hotmail.com) from United States
7 June 2011

"I'm just your mistress, Death is your wife." A true story about the love between Matador Manolete (Brody) and the woman he falls in love with Lupe Sino (Cruz). When aging bullfighter Manolete is told that a younger matador is as good or better then he is, he begins to try and cheat death even more. Will the love of Lupe help him in the ring, or endanger him? This is another very slow moving movie. The acting is very good and the scenery and bullfights are fun to watch and look at, but it just doesn't really seem to go anywhere sometimes. This movie is at its core a love story, mixed in with the action of the bullfight. There is actual footage of the real Manolete mixed in with the filmed scenes that is a very nice touch and adds to the experience. Not knowing anything about the real people or story I have no idea how accurate this is, but the love at times is tested to the limits. Overall I would say this is more of a movie that women will enjoy more then men, but it's not a horrible thing to have to sit through. I have sat through much, much worse. A very OK movie, nothing to special. I give it a B-.

Would I watch again? - I don't think I will.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Bull &^$#! (shot)

4/10
Author: jotix100 from New York
29 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Something happened with this film on its way to the screen. For a big budget picture, the biopic about Manolete, one of Spain's most renown, and charismatic bullfighters, it does not have the spark it needed to ignite its action. The man at the center of the story and the temptress that was the love of his life, are seen in flashbacks as Manolete goes to his final appearance in the bullring.

The basic problem of "Manolete" is the casting of Adrian Brody, an actor that usually gives good performances, but in this film, he appears wooden and devoid of life, for a man that faced death with each new bullfight he entered. The figure of the larger than life matador does not come across, the way director Menno Meyjes decided to give the picture.

In contrast, Penelope Cruz, playing Lupe, Manolete's mistress, counteracts by playing her with the fire that her character is supposed to have. There is no chemistry between Mr. Brody and Ms. Cruz. The supporting cast is basically an after thought, especially a static Santiago Segura and Juan Echenove.

See it at your own risk.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I love Adrien Broody but this movie is really disappointing :(

4/10
Author: milkyjeanette from United States
8 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nice wardrobe and Adrien Broody made a very convincing bull fighter. And Penelope Cruz is very beautiful. However the movie just didn't turn out interesting or good enough.

I don't know if they just focus too little on his own struggle or what... Just... Not memorable! Gave it the 5 stars cuz of some cool footage, costume and the fact Adrien looks awesome as a bull fighter. Watched this on my Netflix when I was trying to kill time so can't really complain. By the way at the end of the movie I was a little confused when the young bull fighter was freaking out said he didn't sign up for it when Adrien was almost hugging the bull, what was that suppose to mean? And his own people wouldn't give him the sword. I guess he gave up cuz the girl left him? And she's a communist? Anyway I feel like there are a lot from the book that didn't tell we'll enough in this movie

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

nice

Author: Armand from Romania
28 December 2014

nice costumes, great cast. and a lot of crumbs. the sin of film is the lost of story. nothing coherent, few poetic images, many good intentions and a fake result - too pink, too kitsch, too unrealistic. the solutions are many for save the story. but the great problem is the absence of a clear project. it is a film about corrida and a legendary matador, about love and infidelity, about the vulnerability of a hero but nothing profound - only a large collection of sketches without a real purpose. for Adrien Brody and Penelope Cruz the film is only occasion for another role. but that is the basic problem. why that actors for a confuse project ?a film like many others. not bad. only uninspired.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Another variations of Blood and Sand

9/10
Author: cynthiahost from United States
21 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It took me a second time to watch it to realize that it took place in the 1940's and in Spain.I also just realize that it was made in 2008 .I thought it just released. Adrian Brody,with his handsome hawk nose and sad eye brows, portrays an English speaking Spanish bull fighter.He just dropped his old girl friend whom he was almost going to shoot.This movie portrays the life of a bull fighter and the danger that they live because of this sports.He meets the very exotic Penelope Cruze, who's an actress or a model.They start to have a affair with each other.Then as usual in these films she start to worry about him dying in the bull ring and tries to get him to quit.This story is almost like blood and sand.He later learns that she was a communist and was married to a communist in the military.He takes her out of jail under his custody.His managers does not like him having an a affair with her cause it's not good for a bull fighter to care.This was quite a good story. Ironically none of this was shot in Mexico.The costumes and hairdo's fit the period of the time 1945 to 46 to?Like blood and Sand this bull fighter ends up getting killed because of his distraction cause by his love for Penelope Cruze. What a mistake. Available at Red box Rentals.08/21/12

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Toreador, this movie is in gold (dvd)

10/10
Author: leplatypus from PariS
9 June 2013

I'm not really into Spain or bullfighting. So if this this movie just appealed at first for the dynamic Penélope, finally, it totally hooks me.

The first great thing is the talent of Adrian Brody. It's true as Pené said that he the most beautiful ugly man but he exudes such humanity that he is also the most underrated actor! Here, he is totally convincing as a legendary sportsman and shy boyfriend.

Next, the director (a newcomer for me) is talented as well: he has a great "eye" and offers totally stunning and poetic visuals: I like how he plays with Spain flag, with the washing as the red cape for the bull. He does the same parallel with love and bullfight. At the end, the use of revolving doors enhances a lot the drama. His cinematography is vivid, full of colors and we can really appreciate the Spanish culture (thus, I realized that it keeps its Arabic history as well).

At last, the two big themes (passion, bullfight) are depicted like a mystic experience. It's not just a simple romance but a burning love and bullfight is beyond sport, it's a tradition. So, as our two lovers are passionate but also defective, the movie heads full speed at a tragedy and the editing is totally right as it ticks like a clock, balancing with the past and present.

It's true that my French DVD is only 88 minutes and the movie is dynamic without time-out.

In conclusion, it's a superb surprise and I urge even the anti bullfight to watch it because it's not a absurd slaughter!

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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A Brilliant Exposé of Machismo

Author: jfcornell from United States
12 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Matador's Mistress" might be profitably viewed - and not so easily underestimated - if we try to see it as a work of art in its own right, that is, as much more than a dramatic tribute to the legendary bull-fighter Manolete or a cinematic rendering of his great passion for Lupe. Manolete's tale has been elevated to an archetypal tragedy of Love-Death. Director Meyjes has put right under our noses the mad mechanics of our wildest dream, in full confidence that it will fascinate romantic viewers without their fully registering what's going on.

But the clues to a psychological study of machismo are all here. Why else does the film open with the brazen insult that Lupe has scrawled in lipstick on Manolete's mirror, an act of humiliation, ripping into her lover's essential wound? And why does it alternate, so suggestively, the scene of Manolete's and Lupe's love-making with that of the fight in which Manolete daringly caresses the bull? And Manolete's relation to his mother, plainly making Lupe her surrogate? This romance turns on the little secret that he gives up in his sexual climax, in the little death that secretly prepares the viewer for his last words. Whatever the historical relationship between these lovers, it has been taken up artfully into an exploration of the matador's psyche, and by extension, the psyche of Spain.

Lupe plays a cruel game with Manolete, because the psychic roots of his devotion are so exposed, more than any woman wants to see. Yet the film asks: is there ever any other source of obsession with Woman? Lupe can only despise Manolete, even as she is ravished by him. Such a love can only find one resolution.

A genuine work of art.

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