Pain and Glory

Pain and Glory ★★★½

“Pain and Glory” is a touching, contemplative, and deeply personal film that follows aging film director Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas), who reflects on his life while suffering from several illnesses, creativity problems, and regrets over past mistakes.

The highlights of the film include the masterful direction, the excellent craftmanship including the stunning cinematography, brilliant editing (especially the transitions between memory and presence), and beautiful production design (I especially love the colors), the fascinating symbolism, and Antonio Bandera´s tender, nuanced, and moving lead performance

“Pain and Glory” explores several themes such as art, cinema, creativity, love, solitude, living with illness, childhood, memory, mortality, regret, redemption, change, loss, self-reflection, and acceptance. The film truly feels like an intimate look into the director´s soul and I have great respect and admiration for this personal approach to storytelling.

Still, as beautiful and profound as the film is, it didn´t totally click with me. I find it too unfocused and maybe a bit too self-indulgent at some parts and I couldn´t connect with every story beat. Nevertheless, I can understand that this movie has such a strong impact on many people. It really is a powerful piece of art. The Oscar nominations for the film and Banderas are both deserved, though their chances of winning are slim (the competition is extremely strong this year).

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