Parallel Mothers

Parallel Mothers ★★½

I’m not too familiar with Almodóvar’s work. I’ve only seen Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, but if this film is any indication of his style, then I’m not a fan. Teetering somewhere between a heavily melodramatic soap opera and an 8-year-old TV movie that your grandmother watches on repeat, Parallel Mothers did just about nothing for me.

While Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’s over-the-top and silly nature worked to serve its absurd and tongue-in-cheek tone, Parallel Mothers attempts to utilize this same style while traversing much more personal and important themes. It seems Almodòvar had many ideas for this film, and instead of picking the few that worked in tangent, he threw them all into this. There’s strenuous detail put into a family drama that doesn’t provide any crucial insight into characters, a sexual assault story nonchalantly mentioned and forgotten, a bizarre and undeveloped romance that fades out almost as suddenly as it faded in, and a weak attempt at an overarching political message that falls short of even a semblance of emotional resonance.

Stylistically there’s nothing to this film besides cheesy fades to black and flat lighting. It’s very possible this is just a style of filmmaking I’m unfamiliar with, but even so, it’s a style of filmmaking I’m not fond of. 

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