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Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) Reviews

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Super Reviewer

April 11, 2012
A bizarre black comedy that sometimes wanders into screwball territory. It is a tale about a group of women all suffering in their way. Being the first outright comedy I have seen from Almodovar, I had a hard time allowing myself to laugh and spent the first half of the film soley trying to analyze the color schemes & feminist themes. It wasn't until about half way through that I realized that while analysis is important, Almodovar wants us to have fun as well. Once I took my critic hat off, I found myself having a good time.The acting, while incredibly zany, is really good and the script is absurdly funny.
I'll need to see it again to really appreciate it's offbeat nature, but until then I had a good time with these funny albeit forlorn women.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

March 12, 2009
A very funny sex comedy that unfolds like a farce, in which every character's life intersects with the others', whether they know so or not. Charming film deserving of its Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award nomination in 1989, and a great introduction to Almodovar, who has become one of the seminal directors of our time.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

October 25, 2011
Women on the verge of a mental breakdown is an absurd and farcical comedy of errors done in a way that only Pedro Almodóvar could do. Yet again, this is another celebration of womanhood with a brilliant cast of actresses familiar in Almodóvar's films. Carmen Maura is brilliant at displaying strength and weaknesses in her character, she really is the glue in this topsy turvey comedy but is very strongly supported by the cast. I loved the whole film but the last 15 minutes are dynamite. This is the first film that Almodóvar shied away from the usual trash but lost none of the comedy. For me is definitely up there with his best.
Jennifer X

Super Reviewer

May 2, 2011
While I liked the way all the events eventually congealed together, I don't really like Almodovar movies. They all seem inherently cold to me, like I never really get to know the characters inside of them. I'm like a spectator that only sees the surface details.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

May 3, 2010
An utterly hilarious farce by Pedro Almodóvar, with over-coloured kitsch visuals and a hysterical story full of peculiar characters facing absurd situations - and check out the extravagant taxi and the numerous times someone throws an object out of the window!

Super Reviewer

January 8, 2009
Fantastic Almodóvar-esque romp through a complex love triangle (evolving into a love tetrahedron). Hysterical!
Conner R

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2009
I liked the style, but the movie itself was just way too cliche for me. The comedy was over exaggerated. The directing was great and meticulous, I just felt it was a waste of talent.The acting was so-so, Carmen Maura was really good, but Antonio Banderas was a little dull as usual. I'm just not a big fan of this kind of movie, so It's hard to judge it properly. For what it was, it was good.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

October 25, 2006
Not the most welcoming of titles and the first half of the film is pretty much as you?d expect from the title, a little depressing and wondering where it?s all heading. It?s certainly not a film that builds up into a big climax, but the second half does get a little better, wouldn?t necessarily recommend it though and it?s certainly not one of Almodovar?s best.
Fernando Rafael Q

Super Reviewer

May 15, 2008
Colorful and dark at the same time, MUJERES AL BORDE DE UN ATAQUE DE NERVIOS is a fantastic comedy, with exceptional writing and directing from the genius PEDRO ALMODOVAR. It's pretty funny, with excellent cinematography and a good soundtrack. Carmen Maura is amazing as Pepa; Antonio Banderas made me stop hating him while María Barranco and Julieta Serrano also gave good performances. Loles León and Chus Lampreave: HILARIOUS.

Super Reviewer

June 1, 2007
Love Spanish Style!
Quirky, Funny, Sad. Everything you'd expect in an Almadovar film.
Carmen Maura never fails to amaze me.
Jeremy S

Super Reviewer

June 4, 2007
Pedro Almadova is the 'women's director'. A melodramatic, hysterically hillarious, kiny farce, about women on the verge of a nervous breakdown
Megan S

Super Reviewer

February 9, 2007
This is the funniest spanish movie I have ever seen. Another one we watched in Spanish in college.
Ryan M
Ryan M

Super Reviewer

August 17, 2011

Pedro Almodovar's "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" is a wickedly funny Spanish farce that shows its filmmaker as one worth looking into. I can see clearly where Almodovar drew influence from, and just why he did. He's known as a master of the Spanish Cinema; and if this is so, then you better believe that this film will not be my last outing with the director. I laughed throughout; sometimes out loud and sometimes in my head. You don't always have to "laugh-out-loud" to admit that you thought something was funny. When something is truly clever, I believe we sit there quietly and be respectful of the film.

What I like about the film is that it never TRIES to be anything more than it is. It's a funny movie through-and-through, and it never takes a wrong turn down Sappy Lane. I'm wondering how good it would have been if it had taken that particular detour. My guess is: not as good as it is.

I shouldn't have to get into this one too much; you should watch it for yourself and decide what you think. The film begins with Ivan, a television live-action and voice-over actor; who leaves his girlfriend Pepa (Carmen Maura), also a voice-over actor. This leaves Pepa depressed and deprived; she has trouble sleeping and coping with her current emotional state. She even contemplates suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills, which she mixes into a drink; and you'll never guess who accidentally ends up drinking it. Her small apartment soon becomes the center of the story as some unexpected guests arrive; Carlos (Antonio Banderas), Lucia (Julieta Serrano), and the snobby Marisa (Rossy de Palma).

The film is frequently chaotic (with characters throwing household objects, such as telephones, out their windows), as well as dialogue-driven (talking takes up most of the film). But I like a good "talky movie" once in a while. They allow us to observe the story through speech. But Almodovar is also a visual artist; and his quirky narrative is told through both the words and the sights. The set-design here is fantastically colorful; which might or might not have been intended to be a highlight, but it was for me. I like films that look good, and this one definitely looks good, or better yet, perhaps even great.

As a farce, the film is great. It begins and ends a successful dark comedy; especially when guns and suicide are brought into the equation. If you can laugh at dark thoughts, from a dark mind, then you might enjoy the film. Amodovar made it for a certain kind of audience. If you are like me, and you are annoyed by the self-explanatory raunch-fests that invade our cinemas nowadays, and spoon-feed us comedic acts and sketches little-by-little, then you might also admire "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown".

The film is so consistently all-over-the-place that it's almost difficult to describe. It's a pleasant and very funny experience that will stick with me for some time. I definitely believe that Almodovar deserves my attention; and therefore, I will watch some more of his films very, very soon. I've seen pictures of the writer-director, and he looks like a happy man; glad to do his job. He makes films that are much more than simply entertaining, but that doesn't mean all fun is derived from them in the process of making them "something more". This is a special film for so many reasons; many of them which I cannot list, because I'm finding it hard to come up with words to describe my viewing experience. I might have to watch the film again, and with pleasure. This is one of the best comedies out there, or at least, that's what I believe. Most of you reading this will want to at least check it out before you judge how it goes about with its humorous exploitation of its subjects. But if this is great exploitation, then I needn't ask for more.

Super Reviewer

April 5, 2007
What? This was not funny or entertaining and pretty much fails. But for some reason, I can see others liking it, but this was just not for me. Theme wise, I can respect its existence. How often to do you get a (what ofthers would call) a quality, female-POV comedy? But honestly, I think I half heartedly chuckled three times in an hour and a half. NOT a good ratio.

Also, there's hella ugly women in this movie.

update: I like this movie alot more this time around. i'm upping it another star and a half.
But god that woman is ugly.
Marcus W

Super Reviewer

April 5, 2009
One of Almodovar's better films. A delightful farce that is summed up in the title.
Ivan D

Super Reviewer

May 10, 2011
Women reign in this unstoppably comic romantic farce directed by famous Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar. I do not know, but Spanish actresses really have a very unique way of conveying cinematic energy. Maybe it's their relentless native language or the contrast of their seemingly ordinary, straight-laced feminine features with unfitting comedy that has able to pull it off. They inhabit the screen with deadpan hysteria and overwhelming desperation that they never seem to bother with any kind of consciousness with how they look or act.

Do you reckon how some actresses act on a comedy film obviously aware that they're in on it anticipating every punchlines and absurdly crude behaviors? "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" came wallowing in the opposite, making its characters squeeze out stupefying humor from the odds of their internalized romances than the jokes concerning them. It's a pure comedy film parodying the maddening residues of a romance and the secretive yet strangely amusing life of 'lovers' than real 'couples'. It's never a rom-com romp. Yes, the film's comic foibles is at play, but the idea of romance is so far away.

The film's visual composition is very impressive considering that it's more concerned with its characters than its surroundings (its various settings are treated merely as narrative 'addresses' than truly involving set pieces). And accompanying the far-fetched reality of the whole plot, the film is uniquely exuberant in its colors (especially in Pepa's (the beautifully, dryly humorous Carmen Maura) scenes in her apartment), depicting quite subtly, although with vibrant hues, the colorfully crazy nuances of a mistress' life.

Yet with its overwhelming, intricately written female characters that show the likes of a squeamish woman involved with Shiite terrorists, one who faked her sanity to get out of a mental institution and a woman whose facial features resemble a Picasso painting losing her virginity in a dream, which director Almodovar may have injected some feminist empowerment into, "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" is never a film mainly concerned about feminism. Above all, I think it's more inclined with destroying the foundations of chauvinism and the romantic narcissism of men. Hell, we even see our women characters at the peak of emotional vulnerability after their devotions to their 'loving' men spiral out of their control. Is that purely feminist? No, I do not think so. I think the film is more of a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the overall sloppiness of modernist love; quick and easy, passionate yet dire.

There's a scene in the film where the main object of affection, Ivan (a namesake of mine), Pepa's ex-lover, Lucia's (classy madness by Julieta Serrano) ex-husband, and Paulina's (Kiti Manver) current flame, is shown dubbing a Hollywood film with his Spanish language. The actor in the film within the film, Sterling Hayden, is commanding Joan Crawford to repeat what he says ("Lie to me. Tell me you've always loved me. Tell me you would have died without me."), but her mouth, although spouting words, never lets out any sounds. It was all silence on her part.

Yes, in the film's immediate reality, Joan Crawford's dubber (who is Pepa) is not yet present. But Almodovar, through that subtle scene, may have expressed his particular stance to what women must do in times when men's affectionately 'hollow' words pervade itself and when their romantic authoritarianism takes over: Shut up. Think. Wait.

Well, Pepa certainly didn't, and in the next scene, as she hears Sterling Hayden's words dubbed by Ivan through her headset, she fainted. Stung by the flowery words of an aging 'Don Juan', she was. But then there's always time for sobriety.
Alex F

Super Reviewer

April 23, 2008
Interesting at least. It gets too crazy in the end and it's very stereotypical (Almodóvar's always been insulting to Spain), but it's OK anyway.

Super Reviewer

February 24, 2009
Charming, kinetic, stylish, sophisticated farce. Perfect blend of Almodóvar's candy-colored vision and offbeat, devilishly witty brand of humor. Carmen Maura and Maria Barranco are out of this world.

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2008
Fun times.Otherwise,be serious!Women rule and that film is a grasping experience of gigantic proportions.Maura is unstoppable and the more the scenario moves on,the better the delirious situations become.
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