7.6/10
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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

Victoria Abril turned down the role of 'Candela' See more »

Goofs

The sheets move position (due to multiple edits) when Pepa throws the lit matches on the bed. See more »

Quotes

Pepa: For two days everyone has been saying no to me. Now it's my turn to say no.
See more »

Connections

References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Absurdism brought beautifully to the screen
18 September 2003 | by VladimirSee all my reviews

"Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" is the first in hopefully what will be a long line of Almodovar films, I just watched it today at a free film screening when I was supposed to be seeing Fellini's 8 1/2 until the tape messed up. This was a very fine substitute.

The film contains all the elements of an absurdist play by the likes of Beckett, Stoppard or Ionesco. From its bizarre and essentially alienating dialogue, to its disjointed plot brought somewhat together by the end, it is an absolute delight to see such films around today.

All the characters are wonderfully developed and, like in a play, the narrative is light in plot but heavy in characters. It makes you think, not about the story it is telling since the story itself is ludicrous, and not about what is said for the same reason, but just about the way the characters interact with each other and how this can be applied to everyday life.

There are also some wonderful performances contained within. Each of the actors and actresses are so gutsy and alive inside this strange para-universe that Almodovar has created. It really is a treat to watch, with the persistently wry and often wildly ironic humour extracted to its full potential by the deadpan mock seriousness plastered across each character's face. It gives us a good laugh, not just at the film itself but at ourselves and the elements of us we can see in it. Plus the mambo cab is a dead-set winner.

After seeing this film, I am currently desperate to see another Almodovar. From this one piece I can see he is definitely a director worth celebrating and admiring and I will try to encourage many others to discover him for themselves. ****1/2 / *****


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