Film review by Colin Fraser

Three generations of women atone for their past following the death of an aunt.  score

moviereview rates films from
1 (unwatchable) to 5 (unmissable)
SPenelope Cruz, Lola Dueñas, Carmen Maura, Chus Lampreav, Yohana Cobo, Blanca Portillo 


Pedro Almodovar

Pedro Almodovar

Spain (subtitles)

Rating / Running Time
M / 121 minutes

Australian Release
December 2006

Official Site

(c) moviereview 2006
ABN 72 775 390 361

Pedro Almodovar is an enigmatic director. He hit a creative peak with All About My Mother (1999) then surpassed it with Talk To Her, a poetic vision that blew critics and audiences apart. He did it again with Bad Education (2004), and now Volver – a lyrical work of exquisite tenderness for anyone who thought they don’t make films like that anymore. It is, in part, a redemptive ghost-story. Past and present collide for two sisters when an aunt dies (Chuz Lampreave at her hysterical best). The appearance of their estranged mother, rumours of her death having been greatly exaggerated, force three generations of woman to atone for their past as murder and betrayal punctuate time honoured themes tackled in the director’s charismatic style.

Volver distils the affection, warmth and razor sharp wit that permeates all his work. Familiar motifs are played out: sexual impropriety and law-bending women among them. Evoking a young Sophia Loren, Cruz is nothing short of dazzling. Her presence electrifies the screen at every turn, reigniting our faith in one of Spain’s finest actors. Her murderous turn as a woman on the verge of a psychotic episode neatly recalls Maura in What Have I Done To Deserve This?

The film begins in a bright, light tone then effortlessly shifts mood through several colours before landing in a much darker, kinder space. A subtle, realistic palate frames this familial story of heightened melodrama that is backed by Alberto Iglesias’ evocative score, sublimely recalling the golden years of European cinema. Almodovar at his best, again? Quite possibly, for Volver is nothing short of a masterpiece.