Approx advert and trailer run time: 25 mins
Film run time: 1h 53m
For his new film, Pedro Almodóvar turns his camera inward for a typically stylish, comic and personal journey.
Physically and creatively declining, aged director Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) reconnects with former friend and leading man Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandía). In his company once more a torrent of memories and unresolved issues surface. Chief among these are his once radiant, neglected mother (Penélope Cruz), his slow discovery of his homosexuality (including a similarly discarded lover, and his tense relationship with religion, all conveyed in vivid flashbacks. Armed with new revelations, Salvador sets out to make amends with the loose ends of his life, gearing himself to work again as he does so.
Almodóvar succeeds in taking the long, rich tradition of the autobiopic and harnessing it to his own ends and moods: rich in stylistic flourishes as ever, the film retains an emotional realism and honesty anchored by thoughtful writing and a deeply felt, untheatrical performance from Banderas. The film’s depth of insight and generosity of spirit are so great that it does not seem like navel-gazing, but more like a spiritual confession, though not a dry or tortured one.