Almodovar once again celebrates his love of women of all ages. He is fascinated by women. For Almodovar women are creatures of sensual and emotional awe.
My favorite Pedro Almodovar film is ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER. His latest, JULIETA, is based on short stories by Alice Munro. I read in The Hollywood Reporter that Almodovar hoped Meryl Streep would play the main character, Julieta. He wanted to move the film’s location to New York and have it be his first English-language film. However, Almodovar said he felt his English was not good enough to express himself regarding what he wanted from JULIETA, so he moved the location to Spain and worked with a Spanish cast.
I’m sure he will eventually work with Meryl Streep. Surely, she will learn Spanish for Almodovar.
The story is told is two contributing parts. The first is of the older Julieta (Emma Suarez), now in her fifties. She is about to move to Portugal with her lover, Lorenzo (Dario Grandinetti). Julieta must be exceedingly wealthy, or someone faked a Lucien Freud painting on her wall. Nevertheless, Julieta is hiding a secret that shadows her life.
In the midst of packing up her grand apartment, she runs into a friend of her daughter Antia. Bea (Michelle Jenner) tells Julieta she ran into Antia at Lake Cuomo where she was vacationing with her three children. Julieta is flush with emotion. She hasn’t seen Antia since she was 18 years old. Antia left for a religious retreat and never returned. After years of searching for Antia, Julieta moved and destroyed all memories of her, but the ache in her heart was never mended.
Knowing that Bea told Antia she was still in Madrid, Julieta decides to abandon Lorenzo and return to the apartment they lived in, hoping Antia would contact her.
Julieta begins writing a journal to Antia telling her the story of her love affair with Xoan (Daniel Grao), her father.
Young Julieta (Ugarte) is traveling on a train when she meets Xoan, a married fisherman. When the man who was sitting across from Julieta, suddenly dies when the train makes a 10 minute stop, they have sex and soon Julieta finds out she is pregnant.
Julieta decides to go to see Zoan in his village on the day of his wife’s funeral. She has been in a coma for years attended to by a fierce housekeeper, Marian (Rossy de Palma). Julieta meets Xoan’s casual on-and-off-again lover Ava (Inma Cuesta), a very talented sculptress. Regardless of this emotional threat to her marriage, Julieta and Xoan build a life together and raise Antia.
Yet, still jealous of Xoan and Ava’s past or ongoing relationship, Julieta provokes an argument with Xoan which ends tragically.
What is so amazing about Almodovar is his love of women – of all ages. He is fascinated by women. You can see in every scene how women – even women of a certain age – are perceived as fascinating, curious beings. A woman does not have to be young and beautiful for Almodovar to see her as a creature of sensual and emotional awe. She is, at any age – a mystery to explore.
JULIETA is all about a mother’s love for her daughter and Suarez expresses such passion for her daughter’s memory that regardless of whether it was valid to not, you are caught up her her sense of devastating loss.
A mother’s love is at the core of JULIETA and Almodovar once again celebrates his mother’s love. Every mother would understand JULIETA and Julieta’s need to find her daughter and explain her part in their estrangement.
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Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at victoria.alexander.lv@gmail.