Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios) (1988)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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.
Rating:
R
Genre:
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Orion Classics

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Cast

Chus Lampreave
as Portera Testiga de Jehová
Agustín Almodóvar
as Empleado Inmobiliaria
Imanol Uribe
as Marido
Loles León
as Secretary
Ángel de Andrés López
as Police Officer
Kiti Manver
as Paulina
Yayo Calvo
as Lucía's Father
José Marco
as Padrino
Lupe Barrado
as Secretaria Paulina
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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 (27) | Top Critics (4)

A feminist comedy with real bite; it always brings down the house.

August 31, 2006
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

In Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Mr. Almodovar sets out to charm rather than shock. That he succeeds should not come as a surprise.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

This is painless sexual politics, a fiendish comedy full of prickles and pain and the bright shiny pinks of a matador's cape.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

Women slinks devilishly (and expertly) between farce, absurdism and tragedy.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

Almodovar's most accomplished and most commercially successful comedy to date.

Full Review… | June 30, 2011
EmanuelLevy.Com

The film's color scheme is like a makeup counter display, and the narrative has the same sort of spirit, with dabs of humor that gloss over or disrupt the heroine's grief.

June 14, 2007
DVDLaser

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

A hilarious farce by Pedro Almodóvar with over-colored kitsch visuals and a hysterical story full of eccentric characters in absurd situations - and it is impossible not to laugh at that extravagant taxi and the many times that someone throws something out of the window.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Slap-happy, fun, riotous - one of Almodovar's best stings with enjoyment.

Tony Gandía
Tony Gandía

Super Reviewer

½

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 Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

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