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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 2,334 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

 
emotionally detached account of a woman's response to tragedy
16 February 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the minimalist Argentine drama "The Headless Woman," a distracted motorist (ah those damn cell phones!) runs over something - a dog? a person? - on a deserted country road, but rather than stop and deal with the consequences of what she has done, she continues on her way, never quite sure of who or what it was she actually hit. The movie then goes on to chronicle the woman's emotional and psychological response to the accident, as she endeavors in vain to re-establish the patterns and routines of her daily life, wracked with guilt over the part she played in the tragedy. Or is she?

"The Headless Woman" is a challenging film in that it steadfastly refuses to go for the obvious in its narrative choices. It can be frustrating to watch at times because the main character, Vero, keeps so much of her thoughts and feelings bottled up inside her that it is left up to us to try and figure out what is really taking place behind that nearly perpetual deer-in-the-headlights expression she displays to the world. On the surface, Vero is a successful dentist with two grown kids, a critically ill mother whom she helps care for, and a husband for whom any real feelings would appear to have long ago been extinguished. Yet, because she is given barely a word of dialogue to speak throughout the course of the movie, the marvelously stoic Maria Onetto is forced to rely almost exclusively on the subtlest of body language and facial tics to create a character of tremendous mystery and depth. The barest quiver of the mouth, the slightest twitch fluttering across an otherwise soporifically placid face - this is where the true drama of "The Headless Woman" plays itself out. For, indeed, in "The Headless Woman," the things that are NOT said carry far more weight, thematically and psychologically, than the things that are. And, unlike in the vast majority of movies, the drama derives not so much from a densely plotted narrative as from a scrupulously detached and nonjudgmental observation of human activity and behavior. Indeed, the plot becomes barely incidental to the accumulation of detail that writer/director Lucretia Martel uses for her art.

Indeed, if this were an American film on the same subject, I suspect that there would be plenty of introspective soul-baring, angst-ridden chest-beating and Simple Simon lesson-learning to go along with the tragedy. But Martel is in no way interested in any of that. In fact, one of the beauties of the film is that it refuses to cater to our own expectations of how we feel a person - and, by extension, we ourselves

  • would or should react in such a situation. And it is that


unconventionality that keeps us emotionally off-balanced for the duration of the story. We want to make a moral judgment against this woman but the author steadfastly refuses to give us that opportunity. Martel's concern is simply to tell this one woman's story in the sparest way possible and then let the audience come to its own conclusion about what, if anything, it all "means."

Thus, with its oblique style, enigmatic characters, and inconclusive ending, "The Headless Woman" is not a movie all people will be able to get into, but those who do are not likely to forget the experience.


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