We All Want What's Best For Her


Reviewed by: Rebecca Naughten

We All Want What's Best For Her
"In a manner befitting the tightrope walked by Navas in her performance, what could be a tragedy becomes tragicomedy."

We meet Geni (Nora Navas) a year on from a near-fatal car accident, when her family think that she should be getting her life back on track, specifically the track that they have decided and shaped for her. Geni doesn't see the appeal of this (demonstrably privileged) life any more, but struggles to explain this to her loved ones or to define what it is she wants instead - her post-accident difficulties with cognition are mirrored by her general feelings of frustration and a confused sense of self.

Nora Navas has picked up a number of acting awards for We All Want What's Best For Her (Tots Volem El Millor Per A Ella) with a deftly calibrated performance that subtly suggests Geni's gradual recovery but also moves between humour and deep sadness with a sophisticated ease. She performs Geni's emotional instability - and the character's struggles with speech in relation to memory and cognition (which Navas formulates as something between a stutter and a flustered and frustrated grasping for something just beyond Geni's cognitive reach) - with an assured touch that never tips over into histrionics despite Geni's increasingly erratic behaviour as she becomes desperate to find a way out of her unhappiness.

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Of the rest of the cast, most deserving of mention are Ágata Roca as Geni's somewhat flaky sister Raquel (the only member of the family who listens to her) and Valeria Bertuccelli as Mariana, an old school friend who Geni meets by chance. Mariana is like a lightning bolt into the narrative - and Geni's life - breezing into the predominantly blue palette of the film in a bright red coat and reinvigorating Geni's sense of adventure. Meanwhile Pau Durà (Geni's husband, Dani) and Clara Segura (her older sister, Gloria) have difficult roles as a controlling (and suspiciously close) tag-team, but writer-director Mar Coll allows Dani, in particular, to be something more than just the bad guy - we can see that he acts with the best of intentions towards his wife but simply doesn't understand her.

In a manner befitting the tightrope walked by Navas in her performance, what could be a tragedy becomes tragicomedy. There is a Woody Allen vibe to proceedings, not least in terms of the monied milieu in which the characters exist - the recurring motif of Geni forgetting to carry cash conveys her distracted mental state but also suggests that money is not something that she needs to worry about. This risks reducing Geni's existential despair to a kind of affluent self-indulgence - and certain characters seem inclined to take that view of her behaviour - but Coll and Navas nonetheless succeed in creating a human (and humane) portrait of a woman in crisis.

Reviewed on: 15 Sep 2014
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After an almost-fatal accident Geni's old life holds no appeal for her and so she attempts to escape it.

Director: Mar Coll

Writer: Valentí Closas, Mar Coll, Valentina Viso

Starring: Valeria Bertuccelli, Clara Segura, Nora Navas, Pau Durà, Alfonso Bayard, Àgata Roca, Jordi Rico, Eva María Milara, James Phillips, Cristina Gàmiz, Mireia Piferrer, Anna Carné, Max Megías, Jordi Costa, Manuela Nieto

Year: 2013

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: Spain


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