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Julieta (Emma Suarez) is a middle-aged woman living in Madrid with her boyfriend Lorenzo. Both are going to move to Portugal when she casually runs into Bea, former best friend of her daughter Antia, who reveals that this one is living in Switzerland married and with three children. With the heart broken after 12 years of total absence of her daughter, Julieta cancels the journey to Portugal and she moves to her former building, in the hope that Antia someday communicates with her sending a letter. Alone with her thoughts, Julieta starts to write her memories to confront the pain of the events happened when she was a teenager (Adriana Ugarte) and met Xoan, a Galician fisherman. Falling in love with him, Julieta divides her time between the family, the job and the education of Antia until a fatal accident changes their lives. Slowly decaying in a depression, Julieta is helped by Antia and Bea, but one day Antia goes missing suddenly after a vacation with no clues about where to find ... Written by
Mid-level Almodovar; gorgeous, always interesting, but emotionally distant
Not Almodovar's best film, but also far from his weakest. This character study/mystery/melodrama has hints of both Douglas Sirk and even Hitchcock in its beautiful look, production design, and score, even if it's story is more wispy than most films by those old masters.
Julieta is a classy, attractive middle-aged woman, living seemingly happily with a successful writer, when she encounters an old friend of her daughter's. The friend tells Julieta of running into the girl while traveling – not knowing the daughter disappeared many years ago, a loss that left Julieta emotionally destroyed.
Julieta abruptly decides to break up with her current man, and live alone to try and deal with the re-awakened grief she had finally managed to tamp down. She writes the story of her adult life and loves – which led to her loss – as a sort of goodbye (perhaps suicide?) letter/diary to her daughter that she knows will probably never be read.
The story is always interesting, and the performances are generally quite strong (with one glaring exception in Rossy De Palma's over the top villain-y maid, who seems like she's stepped out one of Almodovar's far less subtle, more campy stories). But while the characters are going through tempests of great emotion, the film kept me cool, removed and observational. That's no crime, but it did keep it from being a powerful experience -- it ended up being an 'interesting and stylish' one instead. Almodovar has said he intended the film to be seen twice, so one can re-see the scenes understanding the film's later revelations, and as admire his work I'm willing to give it that chance and see if that deepens the experience.
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