I give the most credit however to the great attention to characters and the story. I for one am a big fan of Penelope Cruz. I definitely have a thing for woman from southern Europe. Goodness gracious me. Anyways, she plays Raimunda, a mother figure who has pushed away her demons and strives to become a decent mother for her daughter. Her performance is quite good. You can see the depth of what she is going through or has gone through in the way she carries herself at the beginning to the different moments in the story when she is more distracted. I thought there was a lot going on with her character. The cast is almost entirely woman and I really liked that. The varieties of characters their lives interwoven were fun to unravel.
There is a darkness to the story that is woven in and out of sequences and a kind of mysticism that is present with discussion of the afterlife. There is a particular moment when one of the woman is telling a story and we are engaged as if it is an old camp fire story and it really is effective. It is a key moment so I wont go into it. There are several of these moment that are so well done and are hypnotic in effect that you may lose yourself in the film. It ends on the most bizarre not but it really is perfect if you think about it. Great Film.
Watching all of the Almodovar films this summer and Volver is one of my favorites!