Volver (2006)

(On DVD, January 2008) As someone without much knowledge of Aldomovar’s work other that “oooh, Aldomovar”, I watched Volver feeling as if a good chunk of the film was hidden away from view. But even on a pure surface level, it remains an interesting, often endearing look at the lives of a few desperate women. Even with the deaths, betrayals and less-pleasant details of the film, it still feels like a feel-good comedy. Penelope Cruz is radiant as the driven protagonist; she seems like an entirely different actress in Spanish while away from the tepid roles she’s been offered in English. What really amused me most about the film, though, was that as a seasoned fantasy/horror fan, I had no trouble accepting the possibility of a ghost, clinging to that explanation long after I should have figured out the truth. Otherwise, well, the film is definitely too long and the cultural context can be a handful to absorb at once, but that does tie back to my lack of familiarity with the director’s other work.

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