Friday, 14 April 2017

''All About My Mother'' (1999 film)- Review

Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar
Released: 1999
Country: Spain

Genre: Drama

Rating: 5 out of 5


Oh, it is always such a great experience to watch a Pedro Almodovar film. It really is. ''All About My Mother'' is a film that displays perfection and beauty all through. I really, really, really loved it.

Cecilia Roth plays Manuela, the protagonist of the film ''All About My Mother''. Manuela is a nurse. She lives in Madrid and is a single mother and is very close to her teenage son, Esteban, played by Eloy Azorin. Manuela and Esteban share almost everything with each other, although Manuela has never told Esteban about his father. The two of them seem to have a perfect life until tragedy strikes one night: Esteban is killed in a car accident. Manuela is heartbroken and devastated, but decides to travel to Barcelona, find Esteban's father, and tell him the news. Esteban's father had never known about the existence of Esteban. However, upon reaching Barcelona, Manuela discovers that Esteban's father has disappeared, but she reunites with an old friend, Agrado (played by Antonia San Juan), who happens to be transsexual. She also meets Rosa, played by the lovely Penelope Cruz. Rosa is a nun who loves to help people in need- and then unfortunately, she finds herself in a difficult situation and Manuela takes her in and cares for her. Also present in the story is Huma, played by Marisa Paredes. Huma is a famous actress of whom Esteban used to be a great fan. Manuela, Rosa, Agrado, and Huma- all having faced difficulties and tragedies in life- form close bonds with one another.

The best thing about Almodovar's films is that he deeply cares for his characters. His films are character-driven, very much so. He makes sure that the characters we see are realistic. I came to love and appreciate all the major characters- Manuela, Agrado, Rosa and Huma. They are  made so real, so lovable.

''All About My Mother'' is also about maternal love. Although Manuela learns to move on, we can see clearly how her life has deeply been impacted by the loss of her son, that no matter what happens in her life, she can never forget those seventeen beautiful years she spent with her son, and her son's memories help her to face life even after the heartbreaking tragedy. Huma, the actress, feels a strong affection for Manuela's son, and in this we can also see maternal affection reflected. Rosa loves the child she is carrying. Mother's love is a persistent theme throughout the movie. 

''All About My Mother'' is not a bleak film. There is plenty of tragedy but Almodovar makes sure that the tragedies do not cast a dark shadow over the film. The effects of the tragedies remain in the film but the characters are so very lively and realistic that although their lives are deeply impacted and scarred by the tragedies they face, they still know how to move on. There is plenty of sadness in the film, but there is plenty of humor and liveliness. Almodovar's characters are very real characters in very realistic situations and they are characters you cannot help feeling a deep affection for. I first discovered Almodovar's greatness through ''Volver'', a lovely film with strong characters focusing a lot on human relationships and bonds. ''All About My Mother'' also focuses a lot on human bonds, on relationships. Life moves on through tragedies and happiness and what matters the most in human life is the relationship that we have with one another, of the way one person can make the other feel protected and secure even in the midst of dangers, sorrows and difficulties. 

1 comment:

  1. Your very first sentence is also your truest. Almodovar is an endlessly fascinating director and this is an endlessly fascinating film. The trick is, as you said, the tragedy within the movie does not overwhelm it.