"Almodóvar exudes a new found confidence." | Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

With strong resonances of All About My Mother Pedro Almodóvar’s new film sees him back on familiar female territory after the camp high jinks of I’m So Excited. And a good thing too.

He exudes a new found confidence in his adaptation of three short stories by the Canadian writer Alice Munro. They simply serve as a springboard for the director to concoct what is a classic melodrama in which Julieta is played by two actresses - Adriana Ugarte as her younger self and Emma Suárez as the older woman.

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The chain of events is set in motion when Julieta has a chance meeting in the street with one of her oldest friends, who brings her up to speed with various friends and relations, not least her daughter whom it transpires she has not seen since she was 18. The girl, Antia, disappeared while on a mountain retreat but despite Julieta’s considerable efforts to find her remained elusive until the friend bumped into her in Lake Como.

When we first meet Julieta (at this point played by Emma Suárez) she is planning to move to Portugal with her partner (Dario Grandnetti). Believing however that her daughter will now know she is still living in Madrid, she does not want to risk missing the chance of reconciliation.

She moves to a new apartment and starts writing to the girl, thereby explaining how they arrived in these circumstances.

Cue for the other and younger Julieta to step in to the frame. She is travelling by train across the country when she meets Xoan (Daniel Grao) whose wife is in a coma. When the spouse dies they start living together and have the child Antia.

The narrative continues to wend its way down the highways and by-ways of emotions and relationships with Almodóvar proving that he is a master of delving deep into the female psyche.

Reviewed on: 18 May 2016
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A mother and daughter struggle to come to terms with grief.
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Director: Pedro Almodóvar

Writer: Pedro Almodóvar, based on short stories by Alice Munro

Starring: Adriana Ugarte, Michelle Jenner, Rossy de Palma, Inma Cuesta, Emma Suárez, Darío Grandinetti, Daniel Grao, Nathalie Poza, Agustín Almodóvar, Mariam Bachir, Susi Sánchez, Pilar Castro, Priscilla Delgado, Bimba Bosé, Joaquín Notario

Year: 2016

Runtime: 96 minutes

Country: Spain

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