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67 of 71 found the following review helpful:
Subconscious SpeechAug 28, 2002
By Eric Anderson
Talk to Her (Hable con ella) is Pedro Almodovar's sixteenth film as a director. It is difficult to describe the plot of the film as it travels back and forth in time, ranging from intense moments of psychological insight to an amusing silent film sequence, and I would loath to give away any of the entertaining and twisting plot development so characteristic of Almodovar's films. It primarily focuses on the relationship between two men: the antisocial, sexually ambiguous and lovingly charming Benigno (Javier Camara) and stalwart but emotional sensitive Marco (Dario Grandinetti) as they attend their respective women in permanent sleep at the hospital. A chance encounter at the theatre leads to a later encounter where a seemingly casual friendship grows into a desperate bond. Solitude is the predominant theme of this lively, entertaining and provoking film. There are countless moments for the protagonists to contemplate their life and loves alone. Despite its serious subject matter, Almodovar's masterful handling creates an entertaining story filled with wit and humor. The characters possess compelling quirks and are wonderfully realised in a stunning cast. Amazing performances are given from peripheral characters such as the ballerina instructor, Katerina (Geraldine Chaplin) and the caretaker (Chus Lampreave). Meticulous Almodovar fans will enjoy spotting cameo appearances by past stars from his films. This is an intricate and ceaselessly compelling film that should attract a wide mature audience.
The film begins and ends in the theatre. The performances there suitably reflect the dilemmas evoked in the film and the relationships of the men with their women. The fascinating thing about this film is the way that a story between the men is handled on the surface whilst a subconsciouss story is told by the women in their comas. Gradually, through the use of flashbacks, their story emerges and we are led to image what is happening in their heads while in the hospital. It is interesting to note that the silent film sequence was originally written by Almodovar to be made into a full-length silent film. What we are given is a delightful though shocking glimpse of what that would have been. It is touching to see Almodovar's small nod of tribute to Michael Cunningham's The Hours which is a novel he states he really enjoyed. The film characteristically stretches our ideas of high drama and the far-reaching regions of sexuality. This is a beautiful film to follow from Almodovar's internationally successful All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre).
22 of 23 found the following review helpful:
Ballerina & Male Nurse, Female Matador & Writer & SilenceJul 17, 2003
By Enrique Torres
Another in a long line of outstanding Almodovar movies this flick does not dissapoint fans of his outlandish look at life. There are plenty of plot analysis reviews, controversy and interpretations so look around for the "right" one. What would a Almodovar movie be without ruffling a few feathers? The essence of the movie involves the lives of four people, two couples in love(one in a bizarre one way romance) where there are two women who end up in comas. It is a well done movie. There is a movie within a movie that is excellent, done in black and white in old silent movie style. The set designs in the black and while silent are magnificent and reveal a tragic love story where the "little man" (he takes a potion) makes the ultimate sacrifice to prove his love. This sequence is in itself worth viewing the movie. Besides the cinema itself the added features to the DVD are super. I thoroughly enjoyed Pedro Almodovar and Geraldine Chaplin as they discussed the whole movie as it plays without dialogue, explaining details and revealing unnoticed situations that may have been missed by just watching the movie. Their excitement over the results of their labor are infectous. Whatever you do watch the directors commentary version AFTER you have viewed it once. The performance by Caetano Veloso is outstanding as he sings an incredible version of "CuCu RuCu Cu Paloma " and is so good you'll be tempted to buy the soundtrack. Almodovar admits in the discussion of the film that he is not the same director from the 80's or 90's so if you are expecting the old Almodovar he has moved on. He has evolved and matured but continues to push peoples buttons in even more provocative ways. So is the movie funny like some of the older movies? Yes and no, there are moments where the ridiculous though somber scenes hit on both sides of the pendulum. The acting by the cast is very, very good, especially Beningo the male nurse who is a sordid character. His transformation from being an effeminate male nurse to a "tougher" type in prison is a thing of beauty; it is like two different people. You will ultimately be the judge of this movie but if you like Almodovar more than likely you will enjoy this movie where everything comes together for your viewing pleasure.
28 of 31 found the following review helpful:
Tell Her you Love HerDec 31, 2002
By MICHAEL ACUNA
Pedro Almodovar has something different up his sleeve with his newest, "Talk to Her." Whereas in the past his concerns have been almost exclusively with a woman's mindset as in "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" or "All About My Mother," "Talk to Her" is about men and their inability to communicate, open up to their loved ones. Of course, being that Almodovar is a Spaniard, Machismo plays a big part in the world in which he lives, but here he is looking for the Universal; the things that bind us all together as Mankind. And what would seem a pretty basic theme in most directors' hands becomes in Almodovar's, a difficult, sympathetic and plaintive treatise rife with complexity and turmoil. Almodovar is never out for the easy fix. As one of the leads (Benigno played by Jose Camara), who has no problem showing his emotions, says to his counterpart (Marco played by Dario Grandinetti):"Talk to her...a woman's likes to feel that she is cared for and cherished." (paraphrase)
As sometimes happens in life, these two disparate men become friends; the one coaching the other on the ways and means of understanding how to deal with what is not only in front of our eyes but also what is out there in the cosmos.
Almodovar's world is usually a hard candy colored world of zany characters, blatant sexuality and pure fun, but in "Talk to Her," as in "All about my Mother" his palette is subdued, his mise-en-scene still and quiet. With age, he has become not only more introspective but also wiser.
19 of 21 found the following review helpful:
WONDERFULJan 06, 2003
By bowery boy
It seems as Almodovar gets older he is abandoning the sex, drugs and violent theatrics of past films for themes of love, death and redemption. The brilliant All About My Mother dealt with a woman's love for her son, with the death of her son and finding redemption in the father of her son.
With Talk To Her, Almodovar continues to explore these themes and although not much really happens in this film, it's never uninteresting. It slowly meanders along taking subtle unexpected twists and turns in plot and essentially deals with the dynamics of a forged friendship between two men who have similar situations: both of them care for women who are in comas. The characters alone are strong enough and interesting enough to carry the film and make this a movie worth seeing. You find yourself caring for the characters, identifying with their sense of loneliness and hoping for the best in their lives.
Not to say that this isn't typical Almodovar fare, his irreverent sense of humor is heavily evident throughout, especially during the silent movie sequence. His visual sense of style and color explode on the screen with every scene and the interludes, the wonderful modern dance numbers which open and close the film and especially the incredible singer in the café, convey a forlorn sense of hope. Will these men find some sort of happiness? Will these women wake from their slumber? Flashing back and forth between the present and the past, Almodovar deftly creates a world of wonder, beauty and sadness. By the time the closing scene fades and the credits start to roll, you're emotionally spent yet strangely you want more.
With Talk To Her Almodovar has come into his own as a master film maker. Highly recommended. 4 1/2 STARS.
10 of 10 found the following review helpful:
Almodóvar raises his own bar for originality, best of 2002!Jun 22, 2003
Those familiar with Almodóvar's work know that his characters are always colorful, diverse, his films being anything but boring and conventional. Perhaps this was the most obvious choice for most original screenplay at this years Academy Awards...
First, I must comment on some of the other reviewer's statements that Almodóvar condones the violent act in the film, and I must say I couldn't disagree more. He is simply the storyteller of this lonely tale, not the advocate. Furthermore, in listening to his commentary, (which proved to be as fascinating as the film itself) he explains the motivations behind the characters (unlike most other mainstream films, where the protagonist is either evil or good with no grey area) this gives the characters more depth and realism.
That being said, 'Talk To Her' plays like a symphony of poetry, colors and even passionate music, that evoke complex emotions within us. Almodóvar has a very unique style, he is a true master of his characters, they are what drive his pictures. It is the story of four people that are mirror images of one another and yet so different at the same time. The twisting plot developments that will leave you speechless and at the edge of your couch. I know I was mesmerized from beginning to end.
A film with many themes, the main one being solitude and loneliness. Yes, it has elements of tragedy, but also encompasses humour, wit and thoughtfulness. The short silent film fantasy in which a little man attempts to please a woman with what can only be described as total and complete commitment, both amusing and heartbreaking. It is also a pivotal change in the film's direction. If you are a fan of Almodóvar, then you have no doubt seen this already, but if you've never seen his work before, I recommend trying this one first (most recent of the 17 films he has directed). It is a true work of art.
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