Volver (2006)

Master writer/director Pedro Almodóvar gives us another film whose subject is the woman. Woman is characterized as the adolescent/daughter, the mother/daughter/sister, the grandmother/mother, the sister/aunt, the aunt, and the friends. There are very few lines spoken by men in the film and we get the sense that despite the effects of the men surrounding them, these women have created a world unto themselves.

Penelope Crews leads the cast of damaged ladies. Though quite a strong figure, she occasionally reveals some emotional scarring to the camera and this helps her become a multi-dimensional character. Several of the characters are portrayed using this same method - life on the outside vs. life on the inside - and it is only towards the end of the film that the two begin to meet.

The subjects of incest, infidelity, and abuse draw a bright red line through the plot which makes their day-to-day lives almost unreal. Hints of romance and financial success really don't impact the viewer when presented under the bruises these women have endured. Though not outrageously funny, there is a lightness to the film too though and the characters display a modest amount of joy and humanity to make you smile.

The film is about women banding together because almost all men have hurt them; more than their sexuality, these women are shown to be both strong and frail - like all humans.

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