Note: This review uses the original poster that was banned on social media.
Director Pedro Almodóvar returns for his eighth film starring Penélope Cruz. And yes, the hype is real on her performance. She’s that good. As a film watcher, I tend to steer towards movies that follow the plot structure of SAVE THE CAT. However, certain directors can bend that rule and not happen the way an audience expects. Almodóvar is one of those directors for me. I’ve been a fan ever since ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER surprised me in 1999. Since then, he has made some great films, TALK TO HER, BAD EDUCATION, and one really awful one, THE SKIN I LIVE IN. However, with his lack of consistency, a colleague at SFR pointed out that’s he’s comparable to the director, Ang Lee. Both are brilliant filmmakers that sometimes tell the wrong story.
Luckily, with PARALLEL MOTHERS, Almodóvar is telling the right story at the right time. Again, I do not watch trailers before seeing a film, so I had zero idea of the adventure in store. There are breadcrumbs sprinkled throughout the parallel A and B stories, but I didn’t imagine the powerful lesson depicted. Also, interesting is that this story almost has zero lead men. They pop in from time to time, but for the most part, this story is all about mothers and their daughters.
But back to Penélope Cruz. Her performance is an extremely difficult one. She has to go from every range you can ask of an actor, and she does it all and then some. Olivia Colman will likely take home the Oscar for THE LOST DAUGHTER, a similarly themed film, but the best female performance should go to Cruz.
Despite the theme of Eduardo Galeano’s quote, “No history is mute,” PARALLEL MOTHERS is particularly quiet. I think that’s my best pitch for people to see this film. With an Almodóvar film, you expect an over-the-top soap opera, but this might be his most approachable low-key soap opera to date.
PARALLEL MOTHERS is available theatrical and coming soon to VOD.