Thursday, March 1, 2007

Volver (2006)

* * * *

Penelope Cruz has always been beautiful, has always had a terrible voice, and has always been an average to below average actress. That is until she speaks in Spanish. Cruz is in a totally different realm in Volver, her first performance worthy of attention. Volver, directed by the critically acclaimed Pedro Almodovar, has equal parts comedy and drama. The cast is almost entirely female with little to no camera time for male roles. The women light up the screen, however, in an interesting story of family and death, different from almost anything I have seen. The dialogue is sharp, the visuals are full of color and imagery, and the score has a Hispanic flavor, particularly a scene in which Cruz may or may not sing an emotional, acoustic song. Regardless, she is as hot as ever as the main character, Raimunda, and deserves the nod she received for best actress. Lola Duenas is excellent as Cruz's confused, quiet sister Sole, and Blanca Portillo is memorable as Agustina, the weed smoking, anti-establishment neighbor/long-time friend of the sisters. The film seems to get better each scene as its humor and plot twists take turns keeping you interested. This is the first of Almovodar's films I have seen, but after Volver, I would like to see more.

Good For: a date, women, general movie audience

Bad For: people who can't read subtitles, misogynists

The Gallery
The Film Maker: * * * *

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