Starring: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Candela Peña
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Running Time: 101 mins
All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre) is a Spanish film about a woman who, after seeing her only son die on his 17th birthday, goes to Barcelona to find the boy’s birth father, a transvestite named Lola, but during her search, she becomes wrapped up in the lives of various other women around the city.
Well, you really can’t expect what an experience this film is. Despite it’s colourful cinematography and some fun dialogue, the majority of the story is emotionally hard-hitting, and at times very difficult to watch.
The most important thing about this is the central character: Manuela, played brilliantly by Cecilia Roth. Throughout, you develop such a strong emotional connection with her, that everything that she experiences seems to hit you right in the heart too, and to see this woman so selflessly go and care for others in Barcelona, despite still being in a bit of trauma from seeing her son die.
During the story, as she does, you begin to forget a little about the horrific death of her son, as she begins to go into the lives of others, however as it’s still there in the back of your mind, every time he’s brought up in conversation, and Manuela has to remember him, it really hits you like a rock.
All of the characters that she meets in Barcelona don’t really help make the story any lighter. She meets a young nun also made pregnant by Lola, but abandoned by him, a famous actress from ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, who seems relatively normal, but has a strange affinity with her co-star, and a young actress whose life is completely out of control because of her drug addictions.
And yet, despite all of the horrors and problems going on in these people’s lives, Manuela manages to care for them all equally, and shows some of the best characteristics that only tie you ever closer to him.
One of the interesting things about the film is how it uses very bright cinematography, something that you see in a lot of Almodovar films, and yet has this deep and heavy-going story, which means that it’s almost impossible to take a fully firm position on what is going on in the film, which only makes it more intriguing.
Overall, this gets an 8.5, because it’s a clever, fascinating and emotionally hard-hitting story that wraps you up as soon as it gets going.