Pedro Almodóvar

Mark Haddon

'Pedro Almodóvar gets back in touch with his feminine side in Volver, the Spanish helmer's most femme fable since 1999's All About My Mother. One of that film's stars, Penélope Cruz, here takes centre stage as a domestic drudge caught up in family strife - including the return of her supposedly dead mother (Almodóvar veteran Carmen Maura). Despite dwelling on death, there's plenty of life in this mix of tears and laughter, although the style's subdued compared with the writer/director's earlier melodramas.'

Matthew Leyland, BBC Film Reviews



Being the latest 'big' film to come out of Spain, I have been intending to see Volver since it's release at the cinema last year.  However, I missed it and had to wait for it's eventual release on DVD in February.  Of course, once I had it sat on my shelf it still took me near to a month to get round to watching it, but the big day finally came around this Tuesday...

Whenever I sit down to watch a Spanish film I am always slightly wary - the word 'odd' doesn't even suitably sum up some of the films I have seen in the past.  Volver fortunately does not fall into that extreme category!  I'm not going to say that it doesn't have some quirks to it; however, the film is very enjoyable. After all, it's those quirks that make Spanish cinema so original.

Penélope Cruz is at her finest when back on her native terrain and her character Raimunda is the centre of the film.  She is also surrounded by a brilliant cast and, whilst she is in so many films these days, it is hard to forget the lead is a big star; from the very beginning of Volver you believe the characters to be real.  Set in-part in Madrid and in-part in a small village in La Mancha, the story really portrays the superstitious nature of some of the more rural areas of Spain.

The film deals with some gritty and very real issues - manslaughter, sexual abuse, cancer.  However, at the same time there is a comic air to the whole story; not so much to distract from the issue at hand but just enough to make sure the film doesn't become too sombre and depressing.  Even if you are not a Spanish speaker, or even a big fan of subtitled films, I would still recommend Volver.  Yet another fine piece of work by Almodóvar, Volver is a very real example of modern cinema with an ending that leaves you wondering what will happen next.



Reviewed on 24/03/2007 by Angela


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