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All About My Mother

Reviewed By Vibeseeker
Posted 02/28/00 19:28:03

"An arcane masterpiece of European cinema."
5 stars (Awesome)

Pedro Almodovar is a magician of kitsch, colourful cinematic delight, and a master of hot and spicy carnal copulation (Tie Me Up Tie Me Down, High Heels). The sentiments of All About My Mother though, stem from the more refined and mature approach exercised in his recent works, The Flower My Of Secret and Live Flesh. It's not a matter of growing up and toning down, it's simply that his latest attempt has a bigger heart.

It centres around Manuela (Roth) and her journey to connect past to present, in the event of a tragic night that steals away her motherhood. Travelling from Barcelona to Madrid to find the unknowing father of her son, whom she escaped from eighteen years ago, her search leads to encounters with various forgotten characters from her past. The story shows a mother's anguish, bleeding slowly through the screen like an open wound, and finally healed through the resolution of her forgiving and generous spirit.

Dispensing with his trademark lust and sin, Almodovar serves up a stirring story of tenderness that grabs your heart and squeezes it in a perverse fashion. His flamboyant colours are diffused in tone, very much in tune with the more soulful nature of events. But this doesn't impede on what is a very vivid canvas. Almodovar samples and homages the classic's All About Eve and A Street Car Named Desire to provide an additional texture to his storytelling. It's packed with oddball characters (a father called Lola, crack loving lesbians, philosophical drag queens and a nun with AIDS, played by Penelope Cruz, the most beautiful nun since Audrey Hepburn in The Nun's Story), all of whom are lifted by fabulous performances, portrayed sympathetically and never chastised as outlandish caricatures.

Tragedy becomes an intrinsic theme to events, which Pedro uses to explore and celebrate the spirit, tribulations and astuteness of womanhood.

A dazzling film, this is essential Almodovar - artful, entertaining and heart-rending. An arcane masterpiece of European cinema. ---David Michael

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