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ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER

SYNOPSIS:
Following the accidental death of her 17 year old son, Esteban, hospital worker and single mother Manuela (Cecilia Roth) leaves Madrid for Barcelona, on a search for the man she left all those years ago - Esteban, now called Lola (Toni Canto). Along the way she encounters an old friend now known as the drag queen 'La Agrado' (Antonia San Juan), distinguished actress Huma Rojo (Marisa Paredes), whom her son adored, Nina (Candela Pena), a troubled drug addict who lives with Huma, and Hermana Rosa (Penelope Cruz), a young nun pregnant to none other than Lola. Manuela's journey is as much for her son's sake as her own - indeed, entirely for his, fuelled by the boy's pain at never having met his own father.

"Pedro Almodovar's career bears more than a passing parallel to that of America's one-time 'Pope Of Trash' John Waters. Both established cult reputations with films guaranteed to offend just about everyone before moving into mainstream acceptance. Both have retained loyal followings by refusing to ever completely clean up their old act. And so it is with Almodovar's All About My Mother, arguably his finest film since 'Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown'. This stirring tribute to the female condition has all the classic Almodovar trappings: drag queens, transsexuals, HIV-positive characters, drug addicts and nuns but its sincerity and beautifully judged emotional journey gives it deep poignancy. In Cecelia Roth he has a heroine worthy of the title - an amazingly brave woman making sense out of the present and gaining hope for the future by confronting the past. In the course of the film she becomes confidante, mother and sister to the women and men (who mostly wear women's clothes) she meets. Alleviating the sometimes sombre mood with hilarious girl-talk reminiscent of his best early work, Almodovar proves again he's a man who understands and treasures women. Overt script references to 'All About Eve' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire' are not misplaced because Almodovar presents a comparable collection of heroines in one of his richest and most satisfying forays into women's business."
Richard Kuipers

"All About My Mother is not about Pedro Almodovar's mother, although in a sense it is, in that it is about all mothers. And about woman - as mother, virgin, whore. Not surprisingly, there is visual and dialogue reference to Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve (1950). But in all her guises, Almodovar seems to be saying, woman is not only more interesting/ complex/ unpredictable than man, but stronger and more inspirational - heroic, if you like. But while the film is an ode to woman: males are badly done by here - but there is ambivalence, too, in young Esteban's plaintive view that with his father missing, so is half his life. The film is not an essay, though, but a gripping close up of a group of characters whose lives are split open by the pen and the camera in Almodovar's hands. It is Almodovar's most mature and reflective work, leaving us with a strange, gentle sadness, despite its many wonderful, amusing and amazing moments. Sensational performances provide the fire power and the decorative filmmaking that characterises Almodovar is taken to a satisfyingly complete conclusion, marrying style with substance. Make a point of seeing this film - whether on the big screen or on video."
Andrew L. Urban

"Pedro Almodovar certainly has a way with women. He can put them in the most sexually, morally and emotionally challenging positions, and he always manages to maintain their dignity, their strength and their character. In All About My Mother, he has presented the fascinating Manuela, who is running towards her past and her future at the same time. Cecilia Roth gives the role such honesty that, despite recognising that she is going to be put through all kinds of torture, you know she is going to come through. She compels the audience to stay with her. Indeed all the women in this movie are compelling, in different kinds of ways. And the men? Well, there are only really two "normal" men - the virginal son, Esteban, who dies early on, and Sister Rosa's demented father, who only wants to know of a person how tall they are and how much they weigh. The surprising thing is that when you strip away all the Almodovar excess, the fake boobs and the drugs and the sex jokes, All About My Mother is quite a classical tale based on real human emotion. It's not a movie which could be made in Hollywood and it's not necessarily a movie which Hollywood would understand. It is altogether charming, positively confronting and a real delight."
Anthony Mason

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VIDEO RELEASE: September 27, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Becker Home Video

SOUNDTRACK REVIEW

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

CAST: Cecilia Roth, Eloy Azorín, Marisa Paredes, Penélope Cruz, Candela Peña, Antonia San Juan, Rosa Maria Sardà, Toni Cantó

DIRECTOR: Pedro Almodóvar

PRODUCER: Agustín Almodóvar

SCRIPT: Pedro Almodóvar

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Affonso Beato

EDITOR: Pepe Salcedo

MUSIC: Alberto Iglesias

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Antxón Gómez

RUNNING TIME: 101min

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 2, 2000







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