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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

Mujeres al borde de un ataque de "nervios" (original title)
A television actress encounters a variety of eccentric characters after embarking on a journey to discover why her lover abruptly left her.

Director:

Pedro Almodóvar

Writer:

Pedro Almodóvar (screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Carmen Maura ... Pepa
Antonio Banderas ... Carlos
Julieta Serrano ... Lucía
María Barranco ... Candela
Rossy de Palma ... Marisa
Kiti Mánver ... Paulina Morales (as Kiti Manver)
Guillermo Montesinos ... Taxista
Chus Lampreave ... Portera Testiga de Jehová
Eduardo Calvo ... Padre de Lucía (as Yayo Calvo)
Loles León ... Secretaria
Ángel de Andrés López ... Policía I (as Angel de Andrés-López)
Fernando Guillén ... Iván
Juan Lombardero Juan Lombardero ... Germán
José Antonio Navarro José Antonio Navarro ... Policía II
Ana Leza Ana Leza ... Ana
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Storyline

Pepas's lover, Iván, leaves her and she tries to contact him to find out why he's left. In her search for Iván, she confronts his wife and son, who are as clueless as she is. Meanwhile; Candela, her friend, is afraid the police might be looking for her because of her ex-boyfriend, a muslim terrorist, and his criminal activities. As the plot develops, it is revealed that everyone's lives are more intertwined than they could have ever expected. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Spain

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

11 November 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown See more »

Filming Locations:

Estudios Barajas, Madrid, Spain See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,179,298
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Laurenfilm,El Deseo See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Pedro Almodóvar and Carmen Maura's personal relationship was seriously damaged during the shooting, which Maura even defined as a "living hell". It took 18 years for them to work again. See more »

Goofs

Pepa pushes the baggage cart at Lucia and it moves with a great deal of speed. However, in the next shot, it's obvious that the cart barely touches her, yet she falls as if it had hit her hard. See more »

Quotes

Candela: Men keep taking advantage of me. I always realize it when it's too late. Look how the Arab world treated me. I sure didn't deserve that.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Teech: Nervously Virgin on a Woman Breakdown (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Soy infeliz
Written by Ventura Romero
Performed by Lola Beltrán
See more »

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User Reviews

I have never seen anything like this before.
16 December 2005 | by wenzelkmSee all my reviews

What does spiked gazpacho, a suitcase, and a crazy woman with a gun have in common? Not much, at first glance, unless you are in the head of director Pedro Almodovar. In his film Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios, Pedro mixes apparently unconnected objects and events that make no sense until the film is over. His direction and distinct style combined with good actors makes a movie as unforgettable as it is foreign. The basic plot deals with one day in the life of Pepa Marcos, played by Carmen Maura. During the day, we meet her lover, Ivan, who has a son, Carlos, whose girlfriend is Marisa, but like his father, Carlos is not loyal to Marisa but would rather kiss whoever walk in front of him, like Candela, Pepa's friend. All of the opposing motives create and tense mood, but besides everything is seems that Pepa knows what is going on and only worries about Ivan. The main subject is the destructive cycle of machismo and the women that are trapped by it. There are three girls and have fallen in love with one man that really doesn't love any of them, but only as temporary lovers. The tragedy is that the women don't realize this except Pepa who ends her relationships with Ivan. Even though she doesn't love Ivan anymore, we see with her conversation with Marisa, that she has not given up her love for machismo, but that she wants the telephone repairman. In my opinion, what makes this film good is the direction by Almodovar. I have never seen a style so distinct and interesting like his. The settings are familiar, but at the same time the colors create another world, like the world of Oz. One scene that captures this is when Pepa talks with Lucia on the phone and we can only see their faces and bright backgrounds. This is just a small example, but the attention to detail is the most important job to a director, and Almodovar has done it well. I recommend the move to anyone that wants to try something new, even though it was filmed in 1988. I think that anyone can relate to at least one role, especially because of the great acting. The film could give us a new look on our concept of love while keeping an open mind.


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