This sad and engaging film takes you into the world of Julieta of a life lived in suspended memories that cannot vanquish the pain of her past and of her estranged daughter. Incredible performances in Almodovar's poignant film of the intricacies and misunderstandings of everyday family life.
A fine and sturdy adaptation, well-made, well-mannered, and, well, moving, with two equally exceptional leads as one lady grappling with layers of guilt and loss. (Can one grapple with a layer? Never mind.) Yet it's missing something. Two things, actually: the animating essences of its equally exceptional co-authors, Munro and Almodovar, which neither appear nor combust.
I've been thinking about what it could be like to be a mother, what it is like to be a woman, what it is like to be a person and how they bleed into each other like organs. to sacrifice and to desire, to desire and to sacrifice in each their own intricate forms of manifesting. sometimes tender, sometimes loud, sometimes unknowingly it becomes a quiet and violent language that is innocent and erotic and shameless.
The brilliance of the film does not belong to the director Almodovar or to Emma Suarez' amazing interpretation of the older Julieta ; it belongs to the Nobel prize winning author Alice Munro. Almodovar had merely adapted the stories of Nobel Prize winning Canadian author Alice Munro. It is like viewing a filmed version of a modern day Dostoyevsky without the religion and Russian connections.
Sure it's a delightful watch, but not in an engaging way. You may find yourself pondering other stuff or getting caught up on a tiny, cute detail of the background. Although it stays true to Almodovar's all too female cinematic experience, it lacks nerve and climax. That is noticeable from the very beginning but is emphasized by the movie's ending.
Munro's stories fit like a glove in the Almodovar universe! Great to see Darío Grandinetti again and actresses, of course deliver in spades but it's the way the well-modulated story insinuates itself into your mind and your emotions, which I think I like best.