TALK TO HER written and directed by Pedro Almodvar, produced by Agustn Almodvar, with Javier Cámara, Daro Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, Rosario Flores and Geraldine Chaplin. A Mongrel Media release. 112 minutes. Opens Wednesday (December 25). For venues and times, see First-Run Movies, page 78. Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
as a wild boy back in the 80s, Pedro Almodóvar set out to wow with the flower of his talent. There's no better trio in that decade than Matador, Law Of Desire and Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown. But the adolescence was awkward. Kika, High Heels, Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down -- there's no trio more disappointing.
Today he is a man. Almodóvar, now 51, leapt to maturity with the Oscar-winning All About My Mother, and it looks like he's there to stay. Talk To Her is as thrilling as his best young work, and far richer.
The plot alone won't explain the pleasures of watching this film, nor will the cast, nor even Almodóvar's pedigree. It's about two men in love with women in comas, but that won't do. There's something ineffable onscreen here.
It's in the way Almodóvar's script approaches the lurid truths of melodrama, then shifts, always away from certainty. It's in the supple rhythm of the direction, each scene giving exactly what it should and no more.
And it's in the faith Almodóvar puts in art. Any movie that can begin with a Pina Bausch dance performance, break for Caetano Veloso singing Cucurrucucu Paloma, then break again for a surreal black-and-white silent film sprung straight from the subconscious, is fearless. And, in fact, these aren't breaks at all. Everything flows.
I saw Talk To Her in the middle of the Toronto International Film Festival. It took me a while to drop into its quiet, assured beauty. But by the end, I was completely under its spell. This is a fantastic movie.
Almodóvar is jamming with the greats.