Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios) Reviews
Check it out for the dweeby baby-faced Antonio Banderas.
weired thing to say in a critique that should be helpful but something tells me that its a film that is so watchable unwatchable depending on your level of interpretation of human behavior it doesn't really matter if you love it. The way you talk about tells people about you. Its fun. dramatic. intricate. non sensical /sensical. I will ruin no more.
The story for this one is an actress is trying to get through a break-up, but has to contend with her best friend harboring Shiite terrorists, her ex-lover having a son, and to top it all off, another woman trying to kill the man. We've got a perfect set-up for one of the craziest screwball comedies you'll ever see.
The comedy only comes sparingly, but when it hits, it knocks it out of the park. You won't be laughing during the whole runtime, but there's some pretty fun stuff here. Two fairly memorable jokes involve our lead actress dubbing over a commercial for condoms and starring in one about how she's watching her murderer son's (she plays his mom on TV) clothes after he kills.
This film belongs to the women, all of whom are a blast to watch as they play off against each other. Then again, Almodovar's always written women well. That's not a surprise.
One of the most intriguing things about this movie is its color palette. The color red plays a very prominent role in this movie.
Overall, it's pretty fun. It's completely bonkers and you have to see it yourself because words just can't really describe how maddening it is.
There is a lot of complicated context in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. While it has many moments of being a meaningful examination of protagonist Pepa Marcos and her situation as she deals with confronting her inner conflict, it feels like the narrative gets distracted with its crime themes and large assortment of characters which somewhat distracts from the central premise. I was really fascinated by Pepa Marcos' story because she is a great character, but I guess I felt isolated from the film due to it revolving around political themes that I could not grasp due to a lack of understanding the context that the story occurs within. I was unsure of a lot of this and significantly more interested in Pepa Marcos while I expected more of that considering the title of the film. For essentially a lot of other things in the story, I felt as if I was watching a Spanish soap opera at times. Frankly, I just found that the story in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown was confusing and too complicated, while the characters were what made it interesting. Unfortunately, the focus so often shifts between them that the result is not as satisfactory as I had hoped. This gives me mixed feelings about Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Perhaps it is a film I cannot fully grasp due to my foreign roots or my age, but there was just a little much that I was unable to understand in the narrative. Still, I was fascinated by many aspects of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, most of which stemmed from what Pedro Almodovar gaves to the film.
The thing which fascinated me about Pedro Almodovar's directorial work is just how stylish it is. He has a distinctive keen eye for imagery, and it is shown through the sense of colour in the film. Despite its edgy subject matter, there are a lot of manic colours in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. They are cleverly played into the visual field in a manner which gives many scenes a rather electric mood, almost as if to suggest that the plot dynamics are some kind of acid trip. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is a very stylish looking film with an intense mood, and everything is captured by cinematography which seems distant enough to isolate viewers from the characters but close enough so that they can easily get a sense of what they are experiencing. This reminds us of how Pedro Almodovar treats his characters because he respects them enough not to exploit them but also really wants viewers to get an understanding for what they are going through, finding an interesting balance of depth that he goes in to with exploring them. I felt like there was a lot to explore in terms of characters with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and that it just wasn't perfected, but either way I praise the ambition of the fim to go out and try to examine the minds of characters that people walk past in the real world every day without a second thought as to what is happening to the people around them. Even if the concepts in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown were scattered, they still had the best intentions and laid some intruiguing material down for the audience.
And when it comes to the characters, the cast of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown really know how to work with Pedro Almodovar and all end up delivering powerful efforts as a result.
Carmen Maura is clearly the standout in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. As the protagonist of the story, the entire narrative is centered around her and therefore demands a lot from her. And though I was not fully able to keep up with the manic energy of the story, Carmen Maura made it explicitly clear that she was able to. She captures Pepe Marcos in strong detail with a sense of beauty that conflicts with her shattered existence and damaged psychology, meaning that she is a beauty to look at while she gradually makes her internal damage more and more clear. This is a very realistic examination of characters living wih psychological trauma every day who are forced to hide under the facade of a forced smile, therefore rendering the character an easily sympathetic one. Carmen Maura tugs at the sympathies of viewers and clearly conveys her emotional stress through subtle line delivery which gradually becomes more intense and a physical state which always has a hint of instability to it throughout the entire narrative, and her performance is one of the most engaging aspects of the general experience in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
It is very interesting to see a young Antonio Banderas when you've grown up seeing him work with Robert Rodriguez as The Mariachi considering that when he works with Pedro Almodovar he portrays a character who is quite the opposite. He tones his flamboyance down and delivers a subtle and heartfelt performance in the character of Carlos, fuelling his role with youthful charm and charisma which would later catapault him to stardom in his Hollywood career. Antonio Banderas is a wonderful sight to look back at in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown for his pre-Hollywood career and so that viewers get a sense of precisely what made him famous in the first place by showing off how well he can deal with such a complex character.
Julieta Serrano is also an intense supporting cast member.
So Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is an ambitious film due to its fascinating characters, stylish directorial work from Pedro Almodovar and a grpping central performance from Carmen Maura. But the surplus of characters, abundance of unpredictable plot dynamics and strange political context of the film may overwhelm or isolate viewers who are not familiar with the narrative context.
A super young Bandareas is also a fun watch
A knuckles-to-the-face romp that has a big bite and a big heart, "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" sets its sights on Pepa (Carmen Maura), a fashionable but depressed voiceover actress. Her career has been mostly successful, but in just the past week, her life has turned into a housewife's dream of a soap opera. Her lover has left her, she's pregnant, she faints at the slightest source of drama, she nearly overdoses on sleeping pills, and her friend (María Barranco) is dating a terrorist. If that doesn't sound like Almodóvar, then you must not associate Steven Spielberg with "E.T." and all-American families thrown into otherworldly situations.
Almodóvar isn't in the mood to bump us around; he'd rather charm us, in the same way Doris Day vehicles did when soap commercials were still around. For Almodóvar, the '80s were a time to figure things out, drape his colorful images and themes onto unusual projects, and hope they'd stick. Usually, they'd be so outrageous that they'd be inevitably smacked in the face with the dreaded NC-17 rating. By "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," it seems as if he's bored with outright camp, in the same way John Waters was in the days of "Cry-Baby." As one of cinema's most confident directors, Almodóvar restrains his inner wildness and lets the zippiness of the film speak for itself. In return, it becomes his calling card. Audiences don't want to be left in shock, after all; they want to have a good time. And I dare you to not be entertained by "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown."
There are only highly saturated colors, faux, pop-arty sets, six emotions, and women (save for Antonio Banderas and Fernando Guillén Cuervo). There are no subtleties to be found in the film, and it's all the better for it. It's a 1930s women picture on acid. It's such a madcap comedy that anything regarding realism would ruin its potent screwball scent. The conversations are so witty and so rapid-fire that they only exist in a blink-and-you'll miss it idealogy. When the dialogue is serious, it has all the seriousness of a Lichtenstein painting. When the dialogue is funny, it would prefer to derive its laughs from the melodramatic turmoil of the film's leading characters.
Almodóvar jumps all over the place, defining comedy, drama, romance, pulp, and action in a single swipe. In any other case, the film would be a lost cause in terms of identity, never knowing what it wants to be. Yet Almodóvar makes "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" singular. It's so broadly drawn in the first place that any case of camp seems to be begged for. Hell, if an elephant decided to join in on the complicated situation in Pepa's nutty apartment, it wouldn't come as a surprise. Yes, the film is a comedy; but it's so Almodóvar it deserves its own unique genre, off on some weird, cartoonish planet.