Sunday, January 28, 2007

Movie Report: Volver

I have seen a lot of good movies already in 2007 and Volver, directed by Pedro Almodovar, is one of the best. According to my handy on-line Spanish dictionary, "volver" means to return and this is one movie I would like to volver to see again and again.

The movie is set in Madrid and in the windswept countryside in LaMancha. It has some unexpected (at least to me) plot twists, so it is difficult to say too much about it without spoiling it. It involves murder, visitation by a practical-minded ghost, estrangement and reconciliation, but, best of all, lots and lots of Penelope Cruz. Forget that she is a Scientologist; that she has made a fool of herself with Tom Cruise or that she has gorgeous breasts (impossible to forget that,) the woman is a great actress. She is one of the nominees this year for Best Actress for her role in Volver, and had I not just seen Judi Dench's performance in Notes On A Scandal, (I'll do a report on that movie soon,) I would be ready to hand her the award.

There is no nudity in the film; the R rating comes from the language but Cruz's cleavage plays a prominent role. According to a review by Jonathan Richards on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert reported that when Almodovar was asked at Cannes about his enthusiatic display of Cruz's breasts, he said, "I'm a gay man, but I love breasts." There is a line in the movie when Cruz's friend, who is bartending at her restaurant says, "With your your cleavage and my mojitos, we'll make a fortune." Almodovar should make a fortune on this film, which has much more main stream appeal than previous efforts like Talk to Her. Lest I be accused of liking the movie only because I am a leering old man, let me repeat, there is no nudity, not even in a love-making scene. Rather Cruz's breasts are treated as one of the architectural wonders of the world, which they are.

The wind is prominent in the movie; there are modern windmills, and it is constantly blowing; hard. The wind must have some symbolic importance, but I couldn't figure out what it is. Maybe when I volver to the movie, it will become apparent.

I gave the movie five out of five stars.


gerry rosser said...

This is pretty much unresponsive to your post, but a blog I look at has a couple of "Amish" posts in the last few days, and I thought of you.

I don't think it's anything you'll find offensive.

Movie does sound good.cfkjhnk

Anonymous said...

Hullo from a former (way former!) neighbor! My parentaltypes recently sent on your holiday letter, and firstly, I wanted to say it was always one of my favorites, if not The Favorite - your humor and media reviews always made them so lively! At any rate, being near a computer, I took you up on your blog invite. This entry reminded me of one my own recent ones.

"...went to the Coolidge for Notes on a Scandal. It was the last of the best actress films we hadn't seen, and Dang but they all deserve it. Penelope Cruz was fun and fiesty and sad and strong in Almodovar's "Volver". Meryl Streep did a brilliant, comedically mean turn in "The Devil Wears Prada" with the essential clarion moment of vulnerability. Helen Mirren made me bawl in "The Queen" - her repressed emotion was infinitely more expressive than others' overacting. Kate Blanchett perfectly conveyed a woman torn in "Notes on a Scandal". Oh, but Dame Judi Dench! Her character's narration was hysterical in its sardonic cruel gravelly humor. Her frumpy walk, her battleaxe face, her inherent pathological loneliness - I guess if I had to choose, Judi Dench would win my vote. But Dang they were all good, and in interesting roles.

To which a friend (a usually refined friend!) responded with:

And just to be sure you can give a full consideration to each of the nominated actresses, here are their breasts:,,2003200001-2007040094_1,00.html

At any rate - those brits are sassy fun in their lack of reserve compared to us "liberated" Americans. Anyway. Thanks again for the engaging writing, and best to your family!

Lydia T. ( - though it's often heavily filtered)