Thursday, December 15, 2011

All About My Mother (1999)

All About My Mother (1999)

Manuela is a single mom and nurse who deals with organ donation, who finds herself on the opposite side of the desk when she witnesses the death of her only son.  She travels home to Barcelona to tell the father of her child (who never knew about his son and vice versa) but becomes involved in the lives of a nun (Penelope Cruz) and the actress who played a special role in the death of Manuela's son.

All About My Mother won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film and it really is a good film, though not one of my Almodovar favorites, perhaps because it was a little more straightforward than most.  (If you can really call any Almodovar film straightforward.)  There were a lot of references to the Bette Davis film All About Eve (hence the film's title) and the plot definitely had similar themes.  Once again, Almodovar casts a strong female lead and brings her to hell and back, and Cecilia Roth (Manuela) was really great.  All About My Mother was very female-centric (kind of like Fried Green Tomatoes, only good, and with transvestites) without being sappy or maudlin.  I also especially liked the character of Agrado, the transvestite hooker who is sassy, but has a huge nurturing side.

All About My Mother wasn't without its faults, but I think that at this point, things that I can find fault with an Almodovar film are things that people wouldn't expect out of another filmmaker.  I was expecting a little more edginess and controversy (though I suspect my sense of outrage is set at a higher threshold since the film boasts a pregnant nun, and I didn't bat an eyelash) but "had to settle" for a good, simple story. 

All About My Mother: 3.5/5 Stars


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