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T500FC, 417th: Mujeres Al Borde De Un Ataque De Nervios [Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown] (Pedro Almodóvar, 1988)

March.25.2011

I remember I enjoyed the first Pedro Almodovar film a few years ago, that was All About My Mother. I tried another one, in the form of Volver, which was just okay for me. And now, I embarked on a journey, Almodovar’s hit that made him known outside of Spain, entitled Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown, which also incidentally is made into a musical. And as you may have noticed, Almodovar trends on the lives of the female population creating subtle and explosive ideas in all of his movies.

It is about a boyfriend of a woman who left her for another woman; incidentally the man mentioned can easily sway women due to his personality. The woman, our protagonist and who is an actress, was devastated of what had happened to her, much more that she has information that she needs to tell to her ex-boyfriend. All in all, various characters appear that creates a scene the fill in the gap of the movie and eventually she ends up meeting with a crazy ex-lover who wants to kill her ex-boyfriend.

This film should also be entitled as “Fun Times With Pedro Almodovar”. Basically, the film heads to the direction of a black comedy film that works out as it is; mainly because there are films out there that cater to this but it doesn’t work. With the numerous characters, and with their own sub-plots on the side, Almodovar was able to interleave their lives from one another. Or in simple words that we usually say, “It’s a small world after all.”

Though there are times that you’d see it is a summarized telenovela plus a little bit of laugh out loud antics, Almodovar creates the world of women where he smartly derives the personality of each: the main protagonist, the mentally unstable ex-lover, the current girlfriend, the crazy friend, and the other crazy friend, where you’d easily pinpoint each every one of them. And with that, mixing it up with the boyfriend and a few other characters in the film would produce something as idiosyncratic as this film; though I know I’ve seen this plot used by our local counterparts, so it wasn’t that good for me but it wasn’t that bad either.

One may wonder how Almodovar pulls off with this kind of genre, having female leads reigning over his films. I think he is that good, where he can really impose the personalities of the women, much more to what this film is all about. And it is also a look where everything seemed to be hysterical, both from the inside and from the outside.

But there is a certain group that would like this film. Admittedly, I didn’t get the film much. I am not actually sure. Maybe, because I was a guy and this film was intended to the female population? I’m not sure if that is the right answer. And with that, this film is still an interesting experience because it helped made Almodovar create his own household name.

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