Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo, Chus Lampreave, Antonio de la Torre, Carlos Blanco, María Isabel Díaz, Neus Sanz, Leandro Rivera
Written by: Pedro Almodóvar
Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar
MPAA Rating: R some sexual content and language
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Running Time: 121
Date: 03/10/2006
IMDB

Volver (2006)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

In the Spirit

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The new film by Pedro Almodóvar is less ambitious than its predecessors (All About My Mother, Talk to Her and Bad Education), but all the more delightful in its smallness.

Penélope Cruz, in her third Almodóvar film but her first starring role for him, plays Raimunda, a slightly kooky but sprightly woman living in a small town outside of Madrid. She comes home one day to find that her teenage daughter (Yohana Cobo) has murdered her husband after he tried to seduce her. Raimunda immediately claims credit for the murder and hides the body in the empty restaurant next door. But while fiddling around with the freezer, a member of a movie crew asks if she's open for lunch. So she finds herself cooking for the hungry bunch.

Even stranger, Raimunda's dead mother (Carmen Maura) has decided to appear to Raimunda's sister (Lola Duenas), perhaps looking to tidy up her unfinished business, and her sour relationship with Raimunda. Almodóvar presents the ghastly and ghostly humor in his usual straightforward manner; Raimunda is more focused on gathering food for her feast than on issues of murder or spirits. The director's trademark colors and splashes of red are proudly on display as well, but the film's nicest surprise is the smart, warm performance from Cruz, which should silence the peanut gallery for a while.

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