Watching all of the Almodovar films this summer and Volver is one of my favorites!
(In Spanish with English subtitles)
Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar which consists of much of an all out female cast starring Penelope Cruz as Raimunda who along with her sister and daughter visiting her very frail aunt. And because her aunt lives by herself(at least that's what it appears to be) she is depleting in health so her daughter offers herself to move in with her to take care of her the next time they would come over. While at home Raimunda's husband gets himself unemployed, he does nothing but sit around making weird glances toward his daughter. To say anymore would obviously ruin it since as the movie progresses they're surprises and revelations that cannot be predicted, for director Aldomovar does not leave any clues nor indications. All I can say is that it's a very subtle film from Aldomovar's standards since this is few films when the men are the antgonists making their female spouses difficult and that it showcases how the women were able to overcome it. My rating was originally 70% but after listening to the 'commentary' from the extras both by the director and actress Cruz, I thought it deserves a much higher rating than that.
3 out of 4 stars
If you missed it during the 2006-2007 Oscar buzz, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's Volver (The Return) is quite up there in that regard. It is as colorful and uplifting as it is dark and dreary, in giving us a peek at life in rural Spain.
It is a family drama that blends fantasy, suspense, spookiness, shock, and humor to tell the story of the courageous women of La Mancha, all in Mr. Almodovar's signature style of irreverence and brutal candor. With a few representative caricatures, Almodovar's handling paints the profile of an entire community, and, in doing so, lets its life style come to the fore - a quiet way of nonchalance, grit, and determination to keep going without ever wallowing in self pity. The details of their curses, gross as they may be, get brushed aside in their journey of strength and resilience.
The characters are led by Penelope Cruz's indefatigable and radiant Raimunda. The entire cast of ladies were collectively honored with the 'Best Actress' award at the 2006 Cannes film festival.
Watching the 'special features', especially the interviews with Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz, is another perk on top of the perks in the Blu-ray DVD. As with his other projects, such as his 2009's Broken Embraces (with Penelope Cruz in the lead, again), there is something extraordinarily crisp and bright about Almodovar's visuals (and you'll know why/how when you see the 'making of Volver' also on the spacial features list).
Recommended if you are in a mood to study the art form, not for casual viewing.