Julieta ★★★½

I can add this to my long list of films by Pedro Almodovar that I felt were good but not great. If you are not familiar with the Spanish phenom's previous work, it should be said that perhaps no one has so successfully been able to channel the suspense building prowess of Alfred Hitchcock as does Pedro Almodovar. He is his direct disciple and infuses all of his stories with psycho-sexual themes that ever since the 1980s, have felt cutting edge and willing to encroach the line of what is considered taboo by a popular conservative opinion. Almodovar has been critical in bringing homosexuality, transgenders and even just sexuality in general into mainstream contemporary cinema. So, there is no doubt that there is a great talent at work here, and even more so, a culturally important one.

Julieta is another solid entry into his film canon and is on par with most of his previous works. The guy doesn't make poor films. However, his films always have this exaggerated tone similar to the type to be found in a Spanish telenovela. It is because of this that his films fail to completely blow me away, I am always entertained but also partially held at arms length with Almodovar's films. Julieta is no different, slick and technically smooth, it looks beautiful and features some wonderful performances. The problem for me is that although he demonstrates his usual masterclass in tension build-up for an intriguing screenplay, in the end he goes nowhere with it. The film has a lot of his usual melodrama and puts all the pieces in place for a truly interesting third act but then chooses to just fizzle out. Some people will like the open-ended finale but I don't feel that there were enough plot developments in the rest of the film to justify this conclusion. You will have to take it simply as a character study but that is not the tone that Almodovar has set for this one. Just listen to the music in it, it even sounds like Psycho. It feels like there should have been another 20 minutes of film at the end that simply were not there.

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