Pain and Glory

Pain and Glory ★★★★

Of all the film endings this year, the power of this one will probably be felt more than any other. It's both poignant and rewarding, in a way that sums up why we've been on a journey with the central character, played by Antonio Banderas.

Banderas is the best I've ever seen him here, displaying a deeply personal affection for the character through a multitude of scenes that are somehow both emotionally intense and subtle. And as great as he is, the best aspect of the film is Pedro Almodovar's amazing writing. Aside from being a very personal, partially autobiographical film, the dialogue is so superb. I was a bit conflicted on the recurring flashbacks and shift in the storytelling throughout the film, but it all came together in the end. I guess more than anything else, I wanted a tighter summation of what brought the character to his current state as an ill, drug-addicted artist struggling to come up with new work. There are obviously a number of factors at play, but I think a few of them could've been given more time, especially his former romance and his illness. But still, the film is so brilliantly written that it's pretty much impossible to get some deep feeling out of it.

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