TALK TO HER   - A  Narada   Film Review

Talk To Her -  2002   - Pedro Almodovar - Director  &  Producer & Screenwriter

  Reviewed 22 February 2003  What do a female bullfighter, a travel writer, a ballet student and a male nurse have in common?  Nothing, at least not at first -- TALK TO HER is an interest-holding story of how these four lives become evermore intertwined.
       There are real, tangible differences between an art film, and an artsy-phartsy film.  One main difference is when a filmmaker starts several story lines which he hasn't "cleaned up" by the time the credits roll.  We're supposed to say to ourselves, "These threads weren't essential to what the movie was 'trying to say to us', anyway."    Unfortunately, this is only true in the hands of a master storyteller.  Almodovar has flair, but he is not that master -- audience dissatisfaction was palpable.  A second fatal flaw is failure to engender empathetic response to his character that rapes a comatose patient.  Excuse me, but there is just no way in Hell to put an acceptable 'spin' on that one, pal.  And, please help me to understand why Almodovar's male leads burst into tears like soap opera nannies every few minutes, while the female leads are able to keep it together?
       This reviewer doesn't normally read other reviewers' thoughts before seeing a film, however TALK TO HER was an exception.   In that I didn't think it would come to Bangkok, I read several on-line reviews.  Most of the reviews I read were singing its praises and holding it up as yet another example of the new wave of Spanish language films finally getting the international recognition they so richly deserve.   NOT.  That is to say, there have been several excellent Spanish-speaking films coming out each year that have been internationally acclaimed.  What these reviewers are really trying to say, is these films have not had OSCAR recognition.  Whilst this reviewer does NOT consider OSCAR recognition an advantage, at least artistically, I hasten to add that while performances and production were up to standard, TALK TO HER was correctly NOT the Spanish-speaking film nominated for Best Foreign this year.
      Enduring Line or Phrase:  "Talk To Her."

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