Set in Spain, this is a generational story of three women: a good mother who is desperately in love with a man who is far from being a saint; a young mother carrying a hard life upon her shoulders; and an illegal hairdresser whose shop is… MoreSet in Spain, this is a generational story of three women: a good mother who is desperately in love with a man who is far from being a saint; a young mother carrying a hard life upon her shoulders; and an illegal hairdresser whose shop is the meeting point for all the neighborhood gossips.
Consensus:Volver catches director Pedro Almodovar and star Penelope Cruz at the peak of their respective powers, in service of a layered, thought-provoking film. This magical tragicomic melodrama may be Almodovar's most restrained work to date, but it still features his trademarks: a strong attention to color and detail, a celebration of the trials and tribulations of women, and, of course, the inestimable Carmen Maura. The lovely Penelope Cruz hasn't shone more brightly as she does here.
Even if Volver sounds too high-concept for you, know that Almodóvar is smart enough not to rest on laughs alone, extending his premise to dark, though occasionally tidy psychological territory.
Almodóvar's phantasms are emotionally anchored so the story never gets away from its characters -- just when you suspect he might have overplayed his hand he stages a clever, surprising inversion to tie the film together.
Pedro Almodóvar whipstitches a movie from patches of those mother-daughter melodramas Mildred Pierce, Bellissima and Two Women and makes it seamless and original, funny as it is fierce, breathtaking as it is life-affirming.
Detroit Free Press
If Almodovar is in great form, Cruz is even shapelier, with no small number of gags involving her cleavage.