Gael Garcia Bernal, Fele Martinez
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
I've been expecting a film such as this from Pedro Almodovar for awhile now...Almodovar, long known for being willing to tackle just about any subject and an extreme comfort with thorny issues, has a knack for touching upon subjects in the area of relationships and sexuality. This film is a natural growth for Almodovar and, in my opinion, one of his best (if not his best) film to date.
Perhaps only Almodovar would have the courage to take a film that involves sexuality, sexual abuse, priests, relationships, gay/lesbian issues and a variety of other topics and turn it into what is, essentially a very dark comedy with moments of brilliant dramatic resonance. The amazing thing is that not only does Almodovar accomplish these tasks, but he does so brilliantly and with perfect balance.
Of course, a good portion of Almodovar's success must be attributed to the performances of Gael Garcia Bernal in a trio of roles and Fele Martinez. In fact, however, the entire cast here is excellent from the largest roles down to the most minute.
As much as Almodovar deals considerably with challenging topics, I find myself dismayed once again by the MPAA who slapped this film with an NC-17 rating...incredibly ludicrous as the film shows very little but deals with its sensitive topics with dignity, class and humor. (in other words, the MPAA was homophobic. There's no other explanation).
The film features an eclectic but involving soundtrack, and most of the usual Almodovar flares for camera work and production design. Almodovar has successfully fashioned a marvelous work with his latest film by writing a powerful, insightful and convicting script combined with outstanding performances that are hypnotic throughout the film.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic