7.4/10
12,464
57 user 56 critic

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

A gay man and a political prisoner are together in a prison. The gay man narrates the stories of two fake movies and his own life.

Director:

Hector Babenco

Writers:

Manuel Puig (based on the novel by), Leonard Schrader

Watch Now

From $1.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A new speech teacher at a school for the deaf falls in love with the janitor, a deaf woman speechless by choice.

Director: Randa Haines
Stars: William Hurt, Marlee Matlin, Piper Laurie
Pixote (1981)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The life of a boy in the streets of Sao Paulo, involved with crimes, prostitution and drugs.

Director: Hector Babenco
Stars: Fernando Ramos da Silva, Jorge Julião, Gilberto Moura
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An emotionally distant writer of travel guides must carry on with his life after his son is killed and his marriage crumbles.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Geena Davis
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

History of a famous Brazilian bandit of the early seventies.

Director: Hector Babenco
Stars: Reginaldo Faria, Ana Maria Magalhães, Milton Gonçalves
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Take two rival television reporters: one handsome, one talented, both male. Add one Producer, female. Mix well, and watch the sparks fly.

Director: James L. Brooks
Stars: William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Hurt ... Luis Molina
Raul Julia ... Valentin Arregui
Sônia Braga ... Leni Lamaison / Marta / Spider Woman (as Sonia Braga)
José Lewgoy ... Warden
Milton Gonçalves ... Pedro
Míriam Pires Míriam Pires ... Mother (as Miriam Pires)
Nuno Leal Maia ... Gabriel
Fernando Torres Fernando Torres ... Americo
Patricio Bisso Patricio Bisso ... Greta
Herson Capri Herson Capri ... Werner
Denise Dumont Denise Dumont ... Michele (as Denise Dummont)
Nildo Parente Nildo Parente ... Leader of Resistance
Antônio Petrin Antônio Petrin ... Clubfoot (as Antonio Petrin)
Wilson Grey Wilson Grey ... Flunky
Miguel Falabella Miguel Falabella ... Lieutenant
Edit

Storyline

Luis Molina and Valentin Arregui are cell mates in a South American prison. Luis, a trans individual, is found guilty of immoral behavior and Valentin is a political prisoner. To escape reality Luis invents romantic movies, while Valentin tries to keep his mind on the situation he's in. During the time they spend together, the two men come to understand and respect one another. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Agita Productions, Inc.

Country:

Brazil | USA

Language:

English | French | Portuguese | German

Release Date:

26 July 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El beso de la mujer araña See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$55,962, 27 July 1985, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$17,037,728
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Tensions started early on in the process between William Hurt and Hector Babenco. David Weisman later remarked that Hurt had a wonderful mastery of language and spoke in "great metaphorical ellipses that are hard to follow even if English is your native language." For Babenco it was impossible. He became frustrated by Hurt talking "for hours" and learned to just nod and pretend to agree in order to keep the conversations relatively short. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Luis Molina: She's... well, she's something a little strange. That's what she noticed, that she's not a woman like all the others. She seems all wrapped up in herself. Lost in a world she carries deep inside her.
See more »


Soundtracks

JE ME MOQUE DE L'AMOUR
Lyrics by Manuel Puig, David Weisman
Music by John Neschling (uncredited)
Sung by Sônia Braga (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
"Film within a film" really works
26 August 2002 | by demingSee all my reviews

Reading the other reviews, I see that homophobes have been duly warned about this movie, so I won't say anything about the relationship between the two men beyond that it is complex and beautiful.

What interests me more for the purposes of this little blurb is that no one has commented on how the "film within a film" (much like the "play within a play" in Hamlet) reflects the actual events unfolding in the prison cell. Molina (William Hurt) is ostensibly retelling his favorite film to entertain Valentin (Raul Julia) and make the time pass more quickly, but he himself admits that he "embroiders" the story to make it more real. So who is to say if this film exists except in Molina's mind, and if it does, what really transpired in the film? The story about the French woman who is in love with a German officer during World War II, and must decide whether or not to betray him, is an obvious parallel to Molina's decision to betray Valentin or not. Even Molina says that he most identifies with Leni La Maison (Sonia Braga) in this film of his, and it's not just because he is a drag queen. It's because he has to choose between the man he loves and "patriotism" (in his case, represented by the police/government as well as his ailing mother).

This storytelling tactic works brilliantly, in my opinion. Kiss of the Spider Woman is indeed original, quirky, and a must-see.


67 of 75 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 57 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed