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

1988

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

Critics Consensus

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown finds writer-director Pedro Almodóvar working in a distinctly feminist vein, with richly rewarding results.

89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 28

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 22,548
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Movie Info

Though the kinky characters and aberrant social behavior common to the works of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar are very evident in his Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, the film is at heart a door-slamming farce in the grand tradition. The tiny apartment of pregnant actress Carmen Maura is the "Grand Central Station" setpiece for this dizzying tale. Distraught over her recent breakup with her lover, Carmen prepares to overdose on sleeping pills, which she blends into a gazpacho so they'll go down easier. She is diverted from her suicide by her best friend Maria Barranco, a fugitive from justice (her boy friend is a Shi'Ite terrorist) who needs a place to stay. Later, when Carmen's apartment is empty, her ex-lover's grown son (Antonio Banderas) comes to the apartment with his fiance (Rossy de Palma) in answer to Carmen's "room to let" newspaper ad. The wife inadvertently ingests Carmen's "pill sauce," and as she blissfully snoozes, the husband inaugurates an affair with Carmen's friend Barranco.

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

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (4)

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

  • Sep 01, 2017
    I like the way the legacy of Franco's dictatorship is sort of unspoken motivation for each of the older characters. It's still a farce, but one where the stakes feel real.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 27, 2014
    Feminist film? Are you kidding me? Two women try to commit suicide after breaking up with their lovers, which invariably signals that women's identity is defined by their relationships, right? Furthermore, every main female character minus two fawn over the same man and basically go insane over him. Can someone please explain to me how that's even remotely feminist? Besides that, we finally get a film that's not a pornography, so that's a nice change. The story is decent, but too many things happen without explanation that drive the plot in a very roundabout way to reach its conclusion. The editing is not only predictable but mundane and the lighting in nearly every scene is extremely flat. There's just no depth to the film whatsoever, which makes it boring.
    Jason 123 D Super Reviewer
  • Oct 07, 2012
    Slap-happy, fun, riotous - one of Almodovar's best stings with enjoyment.
    Tony G Super Reviewer
  • Apr 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.
    Reid V Super Reviewer

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