Volver (2006)

Directed by Pedro Almodóvar

I suppose life offers numerous pleasures but certainly one of my favourites has to be encountering something that proves to be much better, surprisingly so, than I had anticipated.

Like watching Volver.

It was wonderful, and not what I expected. To be truthful, I’m not sure what I expected but whatever it was, the actual watching of the movie surprised me by how engaging it was, a lovingly made mix of comedy, melodrama, murder and colour.

And it has Penelope Cruz who, yes, looks magnificent as she gets to perform a great role in her native language, and she shines. Her acting is perfect and director Pedro Almodóvar sets and captures her performance flawlessly.

All the women in Volver shine. The men, not so much. But that’s because the film has no interest in them. It cares about the women in a small La Mancha town, the movie’s setting, and how they live, how they survive, how they view life.

Volver means “to return” (or so I’m told) and here, part of what makes this film play so well is that even death is something to return from – even as a ghost, which the women of the town accept as an almost everyday event. In the film, a mother returns after her death. But that’s not very important. More to the point is why she has returned. Which is what the film is concerned with.

So … I loved the movie.

Four stars out of four.

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