Talk to Her
? out of 5 stars Hable Con Ella
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
talk to her It's been a long three-year wait since Almodovar's last film, the magnificent All About My Mother. And this one comes as a bit of a surprise for several reasons, most notably because it centres on male characters and runs at a gentle, measured pace without the fireworks of his previous films. Although it still has a typical Almodovar plot. Marco (Grandinetti) is a writer who becomes interested in a female bullfighter (Flores), originally for professional reasons. When she is badly gored by a bull, he starts a bedside vigil and meets Benigno (Camara), a nurse caring for the similarly comatose dancer Alicia (Watling). As their friendship grows, Marco starts to suspect that Benigno might be more than a little unbalanced in his amorous feelings toward Alicia.

From here Almodovar spirals his story out in various directions with flashbacks and anecdotes that fill in the characters' inner lives, giving us insight into their actions and letting them fit together in new configurations. It's a beautiful, clever film, very well-played by the cast, but unexpectedly subdued in its style. While the storyline still contains some real shocks, the film itself is mature and almost stately, lingering on the tenderness between the characters, the repeated image of a tear-stained cheek. It feels strangely slight for Almodovar, but there's a richness that draws us in. This is a film about a developing friendship between two damaged men that catches both of them off guard by its resilience. Without ever being obvious, Almodovar gives us glimpses into the characters, even if they're in a coma! There are lots of odd sequences that add texture (abstract ballet sequences, an extended silent movie scene that goes very surreal), and so much going on beneath the surface that you can hardly take it all in.

cert 15 strong themes, language, nudity 23.Jul.02

dir-scr Pedro Almodovar
with Dario Grandinetti, Javier Camara, Rosario Flores, Leonor Watling, Geraldine Chaplin, Mariola Fuentes, Adolfo Fernandez, Paz Vega, Fele Martinez, Elena Anaya, Loles Leon, Jose Sancho
release UK 23.Aug.02; US 22.Nov.02
02/Spain 1h52

Silent movie. Benigno (Camara) goes to the pictures to see a silent classic titled 'Shrinking Lover'.

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
talk to her send your review to Shadows... "New masterpiece of Almodovar. One of his greatest films. Almodovar knows how to tell a story, he loves his characters and makes us love them too." --Moshe, Israel 2.Aug.01

"**** Almodovar cleverly deals with the difficult subject of coma patients and nurse-patient ethics with some unique characters and a nearly perfect script. There's no preachy American morality thrust in your face here. Not as good as All About My Mother though." --Gawain McLachlan, Filmnet, Melbourne 14.Mar.03

2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall