A Matador's Mistress (Manolete) Reviews
It is an acceptable film, it portrays the Spain of the 40s and the atmosphere of the dictatorship. In the minus side it is a movie full of clichés, the torero "married" to death, the pushy family, the metaphor between woman and bull... Plus it is strange to see a movie about toreros in English especially when it was partly financed by TVE and when 95% of the cast was Spanish (speaking English with a reasonable accent), indeed the only character that was English speaker was Adrian Brody. I have to say I have no complaints about the choice of actors; Brody's looks uncannily resemble Manolete's, stance, facial features and body shape... And Cruz is believable as a passionate mistress and unpopular match for the most famous matador of that time.
I really don't know much about these characters but I read somewhere that the depiction of their relationship is inaccurate and full of half truths, however perhaps we shouldn't look at it with historical eyes but just as a story of ill fated lovers. To me it needs more scenes, more of Lupe's political background, Franco's opposition and family disputes; we need more characters and more substance. It all feels a bit diluted, like they are cooking a soup but they don't have enough ingredients; it could have been a good film, but as is, it is just ok.
It is slow and bored to death.
My wife couldn't get "into" this movie because she thinks Adrien Brody is ugly as a mud fence and can't imagine anyone as strikingly beautiful as Penélope Cruz hooking up with him. I thought he was perfect for the role, though.