Saturday, June 23
Yes, I know I have been slacking, but sitting still & watching a movie has been out of the question lately. Finally, last night, I took a breath and sat down for some foreign entertainment. On the menu: "Volver" an independent film by Pedro Almodovar. Roughly translated volver, in English, means "to return." Quite a fitting title to this comedic drama.
Volver is a fabulous mix of supernatural inklings and gritty realism. And while it is a story that revolves around many women, the backbone to our character plot sheds light on Raimunda (Penelope Cruz), a woman struggling through a loveless marriage, all the while trying to raise her illegitimate daughter. Her sister, Sole(Lola Duenas), is a hairdresser with a secret business in her apartment, who is still trying to piece together her life after the death of their mother and the disappearance of her husband.
When the women take a trip back to their home town they find ,to their surprise, that their Alzheimer-ic aunt has been functioning quite well on her own, or so it seems. The aunt mumbles on about the help from their dead mother, and rumors circulate around the town about her ghost being spotted. A seed of doubt and suspicion is placed.
And while there are plenty more along the lines of action and twists in this story saying much more would be a crime. This film definitely doesn't fit into any mold or stereotype, and every audience member deserves a chance to figure it out on their own. In this story we are shown the real truth behind family facades.
Penelope Cruz is at her best here (with the help of a fake "badunkadunk" and a helluva push-up bra), delivering an Oscar worthy performance. Finally getting back to the Penelope we've seen in her other Spanish films, a true character with depth and an incredible range of emotions. Seeing Penelope in a role that embraces her full potential is refreshing after being more privy to her shallow, short ranged English performances. A talented actress is harbored in there somewhere, maybe it just takes a director like Almodovar to bring it out again.
Characters are what drive a movie, and in this film they hold strong. This is a touching and heartbreaking story with a hint of thriller and a touch of ghost. Tell your mother, your sister, and all your friends...rent "Volver", it will move you. It will make you want to hug your sister, call your mother, and kiss your daughter. Family is a gift, and finding out that one you thought you'd lost has return, now that is a godsend. Thanks, Pete, you warmed my heart and made me smile.
The JackScore: 4.5 out of 5 stars