Vamshidhar Kommineni

November 25, 2006

Movie Review: Volver

Filed under: Movies — Vamshi @ 10:37 pm

Rating: 4 stars
Link to Ebert’s review
Link to Rotten Tomatoes’ review aggregation
Link to IMDB

I watched this movie in the "LandMark Egyptian" theater, which plays Indie movies. It’s a surprisingly good theater with decent acoustics. I recommend that people in Seattle check it out (not least because they play a great selection of movies). Here is what Landmark’s says about the theater:

"1 Screen. Built in 1915. Operated by Landmark since 1989. The Egyptian Theatre is located on Capitol Hill near Downtown Seattle and features a wide array of independent film, foreign language cinema, documentaries and restored classics. It was originally built as a large Masonic Temple, with offices, a main auditorium, and a smaller auditorium. In the 1970s, the Masons used the large auditorium as a wrestling arena to earn extra money. In the early 1980s it became the home of the Seattle International Film Festival, at which point the founders of the Festival moved in and gave the theatre its current Egyptian décor. The Egyptian continues to host SIFF, the largest film festival in North America."

On to the movie itself. This is Pedro Almodovar’s latest movie (in Spanish, with English subtitles) and in my opinion one of his best so far. The movie deals with 4 women spread across 3 generations and a 5th whose life is entangled with the family. This is a movie about women. The one male actor of consequence in the movie (Paco, the husband of Raimunda, the main character in the movie) is killed early in the movie in a way I won’t reveal so as to not spoil the movie, and some part of the movie deals with the consequences of his killing and the cover up that follows. What strikes you though is how much Almodovar cares about women. The way he captures all the women in the movie, young and old clearly shows that.

Another thing that comes across really well is the depiction of life in the village. One wonders whether life in Spanish villages is still like this or whether this is an expression of the place Almodovar grew up in. The parallels to life in Indian families and Indian villages is also interesting (mostly my observation, I doubt the director is actually trying to draw any parallels)

There is much like to about this movie that is hard to put into words without giving too much away. It is a gentle movie full of feeling but delivered in a light-hearted way with plenty of humor and comedy. Many relationships between women are explored, including that between a dead mother and her children, mother and child in the face of difficulty, sisters that have a close bond, sisters that don’t and more.

Penelope Cruz plays the role of Raimunda, and is a refreshing surprise. Who knew she had acting chops? You certainly couldn’t tell from her slew of badly acted English movies. In this movie, she excels at her role and together with Carmen Maura produces a great movie. Blanca Portillo who plays Agustina also does a good job

Well worth watching either in the theater or on DVD.

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