All about my Mother
(Todo sobre mi madre)
Krishna Chaitanya M
Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Penélope Cruz
Run time (mins)
This movie is said to be the best of Pedro Almodovar. It is superbly plotted melodrama, both comic and tragic, with female spirit as the anchor.
The film opens in Madrid on the birthday of young Esteban, who wishes to know about his father from his now single mother, Manuela. Before Manuela can tell him about his father, tragedy strikes in the form of an accident, killing Esteban - while trying to get an autograph from the actress of the play "A Streetcar named Desire”.
Post the incident, Manuela decides to travel to Barcelona, to break this news to his father, who was born Esteban (yes, same name), but now became a transvestite sex worker called Lola. Upon arriving, she meets her long time friend Agrado, who is also a transvestite sex worker, whose savings Lola would have stolen. She also meets a nun, Rose, who is pregnant and also a HIV positive. Later Manuela, joins as assistant to Huma Rojo, who is an actress in “A streetcar named Desire”and gets an opportunity to play a role she was familiar with, when Huma’s young lover, who supposed to play that role didn’t turn up. All these character who crosses each other's path intentionally or not, form a strong bond and becomes the strength of the plot.
Entire movie is driven by mother’s relationship with their children, either organic or surrogate. Emotions of sisterhood also reflects recurrently throughout the film, I like this specific scene where Mauela, Rose, Agrado & Huma drinks and laughs together. No wonder director dedicated this movie 'to every actress who has ever played an actress' and to the director's mother. This film also reflect the characters of transvestites like in no other film I had seen.
Dialogues of this movie are also intense. Some like -
- When Agrado was asked if she is wearing original Chanel, she replies, "How could I own a real Chanel when there is so much poverty in the world?”
- Another one from Agrado, when she tries to give a stand-up describing her life journey from male to female as -"Well, as I was saying, it costs a lot to be authentic, ma'am. And one can't be stingy with these things because you are more authentic the more you resemble what you've dreamed of being.”
- When Huma was told that she is successful, she replies that she may be successful, but that, after you’ve had success for a while, you no longer notice it.
Cinematography is also brilliant, with director's trademark of bright colours and definitive patterns reflecting through out the film.
I strongly recommend this movie as your next (or first) Spanish movie to watch. Please watch it, by all means.
My Overall Ratings (of 5):