Just came back from watching Pedro Almodovar’s film Volver. Fantastic in every sense – the plot, the acting, the overall sense of mystery to the movie. “Volver” means “To Return” in Spanish and I can’t think of another word that describes the themes of this movie better. Penelope Cruz plays a mother of a teenaged daughter who protects her when her father attempts to molest her. We learn so much about her character in the course of the movie – why she is so fiercely protective of her daughter, why she is estranged from her parents, and what secrets the family has kept from each other and that has been tearing them apart. The movie is about literally returning to where you’re from, returning what you’ve avoided, and resolving the mysteries of your life and family before it’s too late.
Each theme of this movie is echoed in the story several times in parallel plot lines, almost to a ludicrous extent, but Almodovar wraps his events in such pure emotional truth that you accept these events as the uncertainty and chaos that life is made of. The tragic events in this movie – murder, incest, murder, and incest – all occur off screen, and Almodovar charts the impact of these events in a way that is not tragic, but instead rejoices in the resiliency of the human soul. Penelope Cruz anchors this movie with her incredible acting – you feel so much for her character when tears well in her eyes – and as her life hasn’t been easy up to this point, the tears come frequently.
It all ends like life does, some things resolved, some things not resolved, but with such an emotional tenderness about the strength of family that you can see why people live, why people return, why people go on. Definitely a must-see from my point of view.