Talk to Her (2002)
Two men share an odd friendship while they care for two women who are both in deep comas.
After a chance encounter at a theater, two men, Benigno and Marco, meet at a private clinic where Benigno works. Lydia, Marco's girlfriend and a bullfighter by profession, has been gored and is in a coma. It so happens that Benigno is looking after another woman in a coma, Alicia, a young ballet student. The lives of the four characters will flow in all directions, past, present and future, dragging all of them towards an unsuspected destiny.
Almodóvar won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for this 2002 film, a detour for the director in its focus on masculine bonding, conspicuously in the presence of women silenced by circumstance. Male nurse Benigno and journalist Marco are brought together under bizarre but curiously similar circumstances via their shared obsessive devotions to two separate women, both comatose. Lines are continually blurred between reality and fantasy, benign intentions and bad actions, the masculine and feminine, as Almodóvar conveys that one-directional communication defiles the very concept of healthy intimacy.
Marco, a journalist grieving for a love affair that ended ten years' ago, falls in love with Lydia, a bullfighter also on the rebound. Benigno, a nurse, dedicates his life to his only patient, a young dancer in a coma as a result of an accident four years' before; he talks to her, reads to her, holds photographs in front of her closed eyes. When Lydia is brought comatose to the hospital where Benigno works, he and Marco become friendly, and the nurse encourages the journalist to talk to her and hope for a miracle. Marco is Sancho to Benigno's Quixote, and as Benigno's hopes for his patient become fantasies, Marco tries to inject reality. Does a miracle await?
- The story unfolds in flashbacks, giving details of two separate relationships that become intertwined with each other.
During a dance recital Benigno Martín and Marco Zuluaga cross paths but the two men are no more than strangers, but Benigno notices that Marco cries.
Marco is a journalist and travel writer who happens to see a TV interview of Lydia González, a famous matador. He thinks up that an article over the female matador would be interesting and on the instructions of his editor, he contacts her in a bar where she asks him to take her to her house. As they talk she elaborates on the fact that she broke up with her boyfriend El Niño de Rivera, another matador, something that has been all over the tabloids; as Marco confesses that he knows nothing of bullfighting and that he is a journalist, she becomes angry and leaves his car without saying a word. As he drives off, he hears a scream inside her house and stops, Lydia rushes off and climbs back into his car, she asks him to kill a snake that she found in her house, he does so and comes out of the house crying. With that new confidence established between them they become friends and later on lovers. Marco attends a wedding in Toledo and is surprised to find Lydia there too, since she had said that she did not want to go. The wedding turns out to be of Marcos former fiancé who had the same phobia to snakes as Lydia, Marco was very much in love with her and had a very hard time getting over her (which was the reason of his constant crying over things he could not share with her), Lydia says that she has something important to say but she prefers to wait until after the bull-fight that afternoon but she is gored and becomes comatose. Marco does not leave her side at the hospital and finally befriends Benigno, who recognized him from the dance recital. Marco is told by the doctors that people in coma never wake up but that there are miracle-stories of people who have come back but that he should not keep his hopes high.
Benigno is a personal nurse and caregiver for Alicia Roncero, a beautiful dance student who lies in a coma, but Benigno sees her as alive and he talks his heart out to her patient and brings her all kinds of dancing and mute black and white films mementos. As it turns out, Benigno had been obsessed with Alicia for a while before she was in a coma, since his apartment is in front of the dance studio where she practiced every day. At first his obsession is only from a distance, since Benigno takes care of his possessive mother who seems to be immobilized, for this reason is that he became a nurse and also beautician. After his mother died he was free to move about and finally picked up the courage to talk to Alicia after she dropped her wallet on the street. As they walk together to her house, they talk about her discovery of mute black and white films and dancing. When she walks into her building, Benigno notices that she lives in Dr. Ronceros house, who is a psychiatrist. He makes an appointment to see the doctor and talks about his unresolved bereavement over his mother, but it all is a ruse to gain access to the apartment where he steals a hair-clip from Alicias room. That night Alicia was run over a car and became comatose, by mere chance Benigno was assigned to Alicia much to the surprise of her father but since Benignos services are the best, he hires him and a colleague permanently to tend for Alicia.
Benigno keeps telling Marco that he should talk to Lydia, because despite the fact that they are in a coma, women understand and react to mens problems. Marco learns from Niño de Rivera that he and Lydia had decided to be together again but she had not told him, so Marco finds himself alone again, as he is about to leave he comes into Alicias room looking for Benigno, but he instead finds himself opening his heart out to her despite his scepticism over Benignos theories. Benigno and Marco leave the hospital and in the parking lot Benigno tells Marco of his plans to marry Alicia, but Marco is taken aback, telling his friend that Alicia is basically dead and cannot express her will in any manner but Benigno does not hear any reason. During a routine review at the hospital the supervisors notice that Alicia has missed several periods but since this is a common occurrence with people in coma they do not think twice over it, however Alicia is pregnant and an investigation ensues where Benigno is the main suspect.
Marco has left Spain to write a book about travelling through Jordan and in a newspaper he learns that Lydia has finally died, having never awakened from the coma. He phones the hospital looking for Benigno but all he is told is that he does not work there anymore, he manages to find another nurse that he had befriended who tells him that Benigno is in prison for the rape of Alicia. Marco comes back and visits Benigno who asks him to hire a new lawyer and find out what happened to Alicia. Marco stays in Benignos apartment and sees that Alicia has awakened during or sometime after giving birth, but the baby was stillborn. Following Benigno's lawyer's urging, he does not tell Benigno about her unexpected recovery. Desperate, Benigno ingests a large quantity of pills to try to "escape" and reunite with Alicia. He dies of an overdose.
Meanwhile, Alicia has begun rehabilitation to recover her ability to walk and dance. The film ends in the same theatre where it began, where Marco and Alicia meet by chance.
From Wikipedia under Talk to Her