Eye For Film >> Movies >> All About My Mother (1999) Film Review
All About My Mother
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
He is Pedro Almodovar, Spain's most controversial, celebrated, internationally successful director and this is not about his mother. Manuela's (Cecilia Roth) only son is killed in Madrid. She travels to Barcelona to find his father, who calls himself Lola and dresses as a woman.
She meets up with an old friend, Agrado (Antonia San Juan) at the place where transvestite prostitutes ply their trade and is taken on as personal assistant to the actress, Huma Rojo (Marisa Paredes), who lives with Nina (Candela Pena), a tempestuous drug addict, who plays Stella to Huma's Blanche DuBois in a touring production of A Streetcar Named Desire. She becomes involved with Sister Rosa (Penelope Cruz), a beautiful young nun, who is pregnant by Lola and now HIV positive.
Almodovar heaps drama upon melodrama, as if to alleviate Manuela's grief. All that's missing is a hermaphrodite monkey. Actually, there is a monkey, but its sex isn't mentioned, which is surprising since everyone else's is.
The film is far from dull, not as camp as you might expect, emotionally at a high pitch, expertly directed and nudgingly naughty. Unless you have both breasts and male genitalia, it is hard to relate to. Almodovar's freaks are real people with genuine problems and difficult sex lives. Manuela's pain is put into perspective by what is happening around her. She is grateful for that and they are grateful to her.Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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