Parallel Mothers

Parallel Mothers ★★★

I am very puzzled. Very.

I love Almodóvar, but this film I couldn't get into. Thematically it links back to what was started in Julieta and then somewhat reprised in Dolor y Gloría, as for intimate dramas exploring motherhood, but in such a strangely detached and quite uncharacteristically cold way that it's kinda hard for me to wrap my mind around it being from the same director. I guess from The Human Voice you could tell that he's veering towards a subtler and more sophisticated flavour of drama than the outwardly passionate one he's known and loved for, but even then I feel like so many pieces were left hanging.

For starters, how am I supposed to relate empathically to a story revolving entirely around two characters that are quite unlikeable and moderately superficial? The performances being underwhelming also didn't help much in this department. On top of that, the dialogue felt both redundant and completely lacking at different times, some pivotal yet basic scenes were overly explained and some other quite vital passages just got barely skimmed over? I found it quite difficult to follow the evolution of their emotional connection by the end of the movie, which is where the wheels start turning in a whole different direction, incorporating a social element that quite frankly popped out of nowhere. I don't think that enough time was dedicated to that section to let the audience really bask in the complexity of this issue, which ended up being yet another half-baked and unsatisfying section.

Plus, the chemistry between these two ladies was close to zero and the fact that they are supposed to have a romantic bond, even if fleeting, is just not warranted and felt very forced. And that's even weirder coming from someone that always and hopelessly ships women together. The fact that this straight looking girl showed up with her hair dyed and cut short was like a neon sign for what was about to go down, but I was truly hoping the connection wouldn't be this pedestrian.

Beautiful visuals and some great intuition - especially with the girl's mom, a ruthless character that is diametrically opposite to Almodóvar's typical bunch - but other than that, quite a disappointment.

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