“If you’ve heard anything about the latest from Pedro Almodovar, most likely it had something to do with the Giant Vagina.”
If you’ve heard anything about the latest from Pedro Almodovar, most likely it had something to do with the Giant Vagina. Yes, yes, yes, there’s a giant vagina. Everybody go ahead and get excited, because there’s a big, gigantic, hairy beaver right onscreen…and a little tiny man actually lives right inside it!
There, now that that’s out of the way, we can get down to the film itself. Actually, the big you-know-what is part of an inspired silent film sequence that appears about midway through the film. Those of you mature enough to get past your initial titillation will no doubt recognize it as the brilliant metaphor it actually is. Further, you will surely marvel at the ingenious manner in which it’s used to mask the disturbing events unfolding within the main story. Right?
That story concerns the remarkable friendship that develops between two men as they each care for a comatose woman. Benigno (Javier Cámara), an effete nurse, tends to Alicia (Leonor Watling), a young ballet student he has come to care for very deeply. Meanwhile, Marco (Darío Grandinetti), a macho travel writer, looks after his girlfriend Lydia (Rosario Flores), a bullfighter who was injured in the ring. As the two caregivers get to know one another, Benigno encourages the heretofore stoic Marco to open up to Lydia, which prompts the healing process, for Marco at least. In return, Marco provides a sympathetic ear for Benigno, whose dedication to his ward borders on the obsessive. Both of them incredibly lonely, the two forge an intense bond that will be tested in ways neither could possibly predict.
With each film in his career, Almodovar hones his already impressive talents even further. Talk to Her is by far his most conventional film to date, even though the subject matter springs from the distinctly bizarre Almodovar universe. Although it’s much less stylized than his previous movies, it is no less sensual – or sensorial – thanks to a deep, textural color palette and a beautiful, haunting score. And despite the presence of the giant you-know-what, it’s actually very testosterone-fueled, somewhat of a departure for Almodovar, who’s most widely known as an outstanding director of women.
As the film’s strange story unfolds, Almodovar takes viewers on a hypnotic, circuitous journey that ultimately highlights the precarious line between emotional stability and metal fragility. At once audacious and incredibly affecting, it dares to defy everything we hold true regarding love, passion and loneliness.
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