24 of 1001 Albums: All About My Mother (1999)

Summary
Manuela loses her son to an accident, and decides to pack up and move from Madrid where to she moved to while pregnant with him, and return to Barcelona to tell a transvestite, Lola, they had a child. Along the way she reunites with another friend who is a prostitute transvestite, Argado, and a nun who has become pregnant, Rosa . She also continues her fascination with A Streetcar Named Desire by becoming one of the actresses personal assistant.

My Thoughts
Perhaps one of the quirkiest more interesting movies I’ve seen this year. For the first time in a long time I sat through a whole movie, and I didn’t want to stop. Because of the language barrier I snuck over to Wiki though to make sure I was consuming the story properly. I have no idea why, but in line with Priscilla, Queen of the Desert this director shows the complex story of being involved with a transvestite with an unique cast of characters.

Cecila Roth gives a powerful performance as Manuela. She is juggling the loss of her son, the friendship of a pregnant nun, the fact she wants to share a secret she has kept, and probably the guilt of her son having never met his dad before his death. She handles it all with enough strength, and emotion to tackle all the difficulties though. Penelope Cruz is also one of the recognizable actresses in the film, and you can she why she gets the recognition she does as an actress with this one. She was a character that made some bad choices, but somehow manages a sweetness through it all.

Pedro Almodovar has put together an unique film. It definitely thrives in the quirky category with the way it moves from shot to shot and all the vivid colors. He also creates a tribute to women of what he believes is all types. I particularly appreciated his emphasis on the friendships, conversations, troubles, mother – daughter feuds, and being a mother in general that he put in the movie. It was probably the first movie I’ve seen where there wasn’t as much emphasis on romance and men where the leads were also women.

When I first cut on this movie, All About Eve was referenced at the beginning, which I found odd considering I had just watched it. I thought maybe this movie was going to be like it, and though it seems he twist it in some ways it really wasn’t. It got me to further thinking about the relation of the title of that movie to this one. With an interesting story, and a cast that can act I found myself intrigued for almost two hours, which is rare. The artsy vibe definitely helps it too.

Rating 3 of 5.

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