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The Headless Woman (2008)
"La mujer sin cabeza" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  21 August 2008 (Argentina)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 2,342 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 20 user | 79 critic | 12 from Metacritic.com

After running into something with her car, Vero experiences a particular psychological state. She realizes she might have killed someone.

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Cast

Cast overview:
María Onetto ...
Verónica
Claudia Cantero ...
Josefina
Inés Efron ...
Candita
César Bordón ...
Marcos
Daniel Genoud ...
Juan Manuel
Guillermo Arengo ...
Marcelo
María Vaner ...
Tía Lala
Alicia Muxo
Pía Uribelarrea
Sebastián Montagna
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Storyline

After running into something with her car, Vero experiences a particular psychological state. She realizes she might have killed someone.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Unrated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

21 August 2008 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

The Headless Woman  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,778 (USA) (21 August 2009)

Gross:

$99,775 (USA) (7 May 2010)
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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song playing on the car radio at the time when the accident happens is "Soley Soley" by the appropriately named group Middle of the Road. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Episode #1.15 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"It's nothing"
4 July 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Headless Woman moves to the beat of its own drummer, which is Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel, and if one is able to go with it it's quite an existential trip. Existential by which I mean a character's actions have consequences - or, if they don't, there is still the lingering sensation that they do. In this case a woman, Vero (Maria Onetto), hits something (or someone, an animal or a person, most likely a person), but keeps driving on. We don't really know what she hit either as Martel keeps the camera moving away from the person or thing from a great distance. It could be one of the children we see playing in the first scene in the film. Or it could be one of the dogs which Vero's husband or friend or other makes light of. Could be just a gigantic damn pot-hole. Who knows?

The film moves along like an existential parable, or, to put a more apt comparison, Antonioni's L'Avventura. We see something happen early in the film, and the rest of the runtime is spent with a character who keeps trying to face up to what happened, even as the details of the event and what happened slip away and the mundane quality of life takes over once again. We're not directed to the overarching issue of a real 'plot', just little things happening around Vero. She's in a bathroom soon after the accident cleaning herself up and in the background we hear dialog that could be referring to her about an accident, but isn't. She's in a car with someone passing by right where the accident was, and firemen are looking at at a pipe that's clogged (presumably from the storm) to see what it is. Could be anything, could be nothing. Who knows anything?

The Headless Woman is not for the impatient; even at 87 minutes it can be tiresome to see nothing exactly "happen" except a middle-aged woman with distinctly frizzy blonde hair (helping to also make an incredible poster image) quietly fretting about what happened, while her family and friends continue on with whatever is they do in their sort of bourgeois existence, and she goes back to work as a dentist. It's safe to say even I got a little fidgety at times. But I was never really bored, and her performance Onetto's performance kept me going even when the mundane took over. What happens when there are no consequences, Martel might be asking? Can one wipe away something like a hit-and-run when there's little left of evidence as to what was or wasn't there? It becomes a minor issue as the film goes on, being almost nothing in the last ten minutes.

But the film itself matters because it's finely shot (the cinematographer should have gotten all the awards he could get for his subtle and carefully haunted lighting and framing), and the tone is so assured. This is a mature film dealing with a subject that seems like what it is, a situation. A niche film that, when it works, is brilliant, and when it doesn't still looks pretty. Like Antonioni.


4 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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