Sunday, April 09, 2006

Talk to Her


Dir: Pedro Almodovar (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!; Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; All About My Mother)

Another triumph from Almodovar. I would want to show this film to all of the young, hip, "indy" filmmakers who want to take an "offbeat look at contemporary relationships." Rather than substitute novelty for effective writing, Almodovar has used quirk as ornament for a very solid and compassionate script (it won the Oscar). I love a movie that gets me to empathize with the bad guy, to make me rethink why someone would do something horrible from his perspective.

The story involves two women in comas, and the men with complicated relationships to them. One is a dancer who was admired/stalked from afar by a man who would later become her nurse after an accident. The second woman is a matador who had an ambiguous relationship with a reporter. The two men come to be friends while visiting their vegetative lovers.

The clever scenario is buffeted by a tender examination of the flaws of the men that lead them to project their loneliness onto the comatose. Distant and dissafected, Almodovar's characters are also insightful and interesting. I really enjoyed watching the story unfold.

Two scenes are worth noting. One is an actual bullfight, both beautiful and cruel, yet very important to the story. It is one of humanity's most disgusting and dramatic pass times, one that I condemn and yet attracts me. But viewers should be warned of its presence.

The second is a surrealistic silent film sequence. The subject matter is Freud meets Dali and Brunuel. Let's just say that the set design calls for a ten foot vagina. It borders on the silly, but does good metaphorical work for the character who relates the story. The scene, for its imagination and risk, is worth the price of admission itself, as it could easily have derailed the whole movie. Instead, it is an odd digression that adds tension and ambiguity to the script.

Very sensitive. Very fascinating. I really liked the film.