Nominated for Best Director and winner for Best Original Screenplay, Pedro Almodóvar's Talk to Her is a worthy film that has amazing depth, though does get a little strange.
Talk to Her is about a journalist, Marco, who falls in love with a female bullfighter, only to soon thereafter watch her get gored in the ring and placed in a coma for which there is no reversal. It is at the hospital that he meets Benigno, a nurse who has been attending to the same young woman for the last four years; he is in love with her, even though she too is in a coma and hardly knew him before. At times goes on, Marco and Benigno become good friends, but Benigno has a secret to hide, and it will test their relationship.
Frankly, the Academy was absolutely correct in its nominations for this movie. The direction is great, if not a little weird; it is a lot like Baz Luhrmann's approach in Moulin Rouge, only more subdued. There are a lot of quirky little things thrown into the movie, such as a silent film about a man that shrinks down to the size of a finger, and then decides to climb into his lover's vagina. Yes, exactly. Regardless, the direction is worth noting, for at times it is quite brilliant, even though Almodóvar never calls for overly dramatic or powerful shots. The way the movie is presented it is oddly realistic, and this is where the strength of the story comes from.
The dialogue is also excellent, even via subtitles. In a way, foreign films place even more emphasis on the actor, even if one can't understand him or her. The dialogue is essentially separated from the actor, and it is up to the audience to relate the words and the emotions of the actor. In Talk to Her, all of the characters are deep, realistic and moving, and after not too long, I didn't even notice I was reading what they were saying. That is a sign of a good movie.
The foundations being excellent, I wasn't as thrilled with the actual story. It is still moving and pretty good, but not nearly as powerful as I was expecting. Talk to Her is quite a bizarre and depressing film, but I never felt overwhelmed by the emotion Almodóvar was trying to portray. Once again, the Academy was correct. The director and screenplay are excellent (both thanks to Almodóvar), but the movie as a whole isn't quite where it should be. It's not bad, but not great, either.
At a few times I felt the strangeness of the movie overwhelming and not always relevant, but for the most part Talk to Her flows continuously in a consistent manner. The movie is good, but not sensational.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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