Critics Consensus

Volver catches director Pedro Almodovar and star Penelope Cruz at the peak of their respective powers, in service of a layered, thought-provoking film.



Total Count: 169


Audience Score

User Ratings: 71,969
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Movie Info

Set in Spain, this is a generational story of three women: a good mother who is desperately in love with a man who is far from being a saint; a young mother carrying a hard life upon her shoulders; and an illegal hairdresser whose shop is the meeting point for all the neighborhood gossips.


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Critic Reviews for Volver

All Critics (169) | Top Critics (52) | Fresh (154) | Rotten (15)

  • Volver disappoints.

    Feb 5, 2018 | Full Review…
  • It's up to charm to twinkle our attention away from the loose threads and daytime TV plotting.

    Jul 2, 2009 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • Even if Volver sounds too high-concept for you, know that Almodóvar is smart enough not to rest on laughs alone, extending his premise to dark, though occasionally tidy psychological territory.

    Feb 3, 2007 | Rating: 4/6 | Full Review…
  • It's clever and entertaining. It's marvelously deft, but never daffy. It works well enough, despite feeling like the most conventional film this great, envelope-pushing Spanish director has ever made.

    Jan 19, 2007 | Rating: 4/5
  • Pedro Almodóvar whipstitches a movie from patches of those mother-daughter melodramas Mildred Pierce, Bellissima and Two Women and makes it seamless and original, funny as it is fierce, breathtaking as it is life-affirming.

    Dec 28, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • The Return rattles its chains for a spell, but it doesn't linger -- it quickly leaves.

    Dec 22, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Volver

  • Oct 08, 2015
    Volver is not so much a chick flick as a family drama where the main characters are women. The plot is mostly driven by its curious and mysterious aspects (and more so than by dramatic tension). Of course, Volver is well-made with fantastic use of color. Cruz stands out with striking beauty and style, and that admittedly factors just a bit into my rating.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 31, 2013
    Perhaps the best film I've ever seen with a intended "feminist agenda" (whatever that is, I don't know for sure) while never didactic, three generations of ladies endeavour mightily to overcome inbred male masochism to learn to enjoy life! Really enjoyable performances and story ... and Penolope Cruz radiant with high octane jungle juice. And I become yet another fan of Almodovar.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 24, 2012
    Volver features the finest performance by Penelope Cruz in an Almodovar film. A great depiction of an interesting collection of women.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 14, 2012
    I have no words after watching this Spanish thriller written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Mostly because I just witnessed the most impressive performance of Penélope Cruz ever! When she managed to outshine stars like Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo, and Chus Lampreave - means something! This amazingly made work of art stayed bright, fresh and clean for a film dealing with murder, adultery, incest, cancer and the even supernatural apparition! From the opening I knew that there is a real "joy ride" in this one! Masterful directing with all its unexpected twists and turns, the story telling is superb - every single event unfolds naturally! Volver was one of the films competing for the Palme d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and it won the Best Actress award and Best Screenplay - acting and screenplay were the strongest points of this movie. Actually, Penélope Cruz was nominated for the 2006 Academy Award for Best Actress, making her the second Spanish woman ever to be nominated in that category! If you're tired of so called "art films" and you want to see the real deal on screen, try to watch this artistic achievement which is buoyant but without being flip.
    Panta O Super Reviewer

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