Wednesday, 29 March 2017

''Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown'' (1988 film)- Review

Directed by: Pedro Almodovar
Released: 1988
Country: Spain

Genre: Comedy-drama

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


I really admire Pedro Almodovar's films. ''Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown'' is my third Almodovar film- the other two being ''Volver'' and ''The Skin I Live In''. ''Volver'' is one of my all-time favorite films. ''Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown'' is a marvelous film too. I enjoyed every bit of it and would really, really recommend it.

The story is about Pepa, played by Carmen Maura, a well-known television actress whose boyfriend, Ivan, leaves her. Ivan does not even respond when she tries to contact him. Pepa apparently has something very important to tell him. Two days pass by and she still gets no word from Ivan. She starts suspecting that Ivan has gone back to his ex-wife Lucia. As she tries to find Ivan, a hilarious situation ensues that involves not just herself and Lucia but also: Candela; a friend of Pepy's who is in a deep trouble; Ivan's son Carlos- played by a young Antonio Banderas- and his fiance Marisa; a feminist lawyer who, through hilarious and coincidental ways- becomes involved in the story; a damaged telephone; a burnt bed; two policemen;  and some spiked gazpacho. 

At one point in the film, a character- after witnessing the messy and problematic situation that arises because of the things that happen in the film- asks Pepa if she is pulling his leg (when Pepa tries to explain the situation to him). The question comes as no surprise. The things that happen throughout the film are goofy and crazy and hilarious. It is simply crazy- the mess and hilarity caused by the characters. I laughed and laughed and laughed. At the same time, the characters and the antics kept me thoroughly entertained. The interesting thing is that they are all normal, average people (except Lucia, who had been in a mental asylum), but they are entangled in a hilarious, cartoonish situation because of their actions or the situation they are in. There aren't many characters in this film but the few characters are very interesting in their own way, each adding to the hilarity and goofiness of the story. The screenplay is excellent and the performances- especially those from Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano (playing Candela) and Rossy de Palma (playing Marisa) are excellent.

This is definitely a very funny and entertaining film, but hidden in this hilarity is a serious story whose seriousness we almost forget while watching it but we are reminded of it anyway near the end of the film: the major focus is on Pepa, who has deeply loved Ivan- someone who never loved her back the way she loved him. Hidden in the hilarity of the situation is a story of unreturned love and betrayal. 

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