From film maker Pedro Almodovar comes a drama that is worth your time. The story focuses on Julieta a middle-aged woman who has lost contact with her Daughter. When someone claims to have seen her she starts to re-evaluate her life and their relationship with each other. Going to familiar places where they spent time together during the formative years of the child and reliving the tragic circumstances of their life both helps and is destroying the title character.
This Almodovar film maker chap seems to be talked about among the other reviewers here in Dublin as some form of second coming, I have to admit that this is my first experience of him and his films, so I can’t say that for sure. Being Irish if I did say that then my Mother would beat me black and blue for taking the Lords name in vain. Anyway, please note that my true admiration of this film is purely down to this film and nothing that has come out before from this creator.
Julieta is about human frailty, in the purest forms sometimes, and in the mental darkness that we all go through from time to time. What is honestly beautiful about this film is the fact that the characters have depth to them. I’d say you could spin-off to any characters life outside this film and create a whole different movie. In saying that you are kept laser focused on the main title character and her relationship with her daughter and the daughters father. The whole way through the film the score kept reminding me of the Dramas that Hitchcock would have created. There was a part of my mind, such as it is, that kept going back to Marnie. Even the pacing used in the editing of this film brought me to Hitchcock. You have to remember that a lot of his movies were just Drama with a darker tone.
This Spanish language film brings you straight into the story with Julieta about to put her past behind her and move to Portugal with her new love. When a chance encounter brings her back to the obsession she has with her Daughter who has been missing voluntarily for over a decade. She crumbles her new life and goes back to the patterns of depression and obsession. Trying to help herself to cope and maybe to one day explain things to the absent daughter she writes the story of how the child came to existence and the losses that drove them apart.
The cast all play their parts to the height of their talent and it shows that they understand the characters. The title character is played by two actresses but it’s the elder Emma Suarez that steals the show for me. As the emotionally fragile and addictive personality that Julieta devolves into she manages to give a performance that makes you believe that this world is falling apart and she’s really going through hell. I’m not saying that the rest of the cast don’t do a fine job, but for me Emma Suarez just nails that part.
The glorious Spanish countryside and the depth that we get to see into each character gives Julieta a real world feelings. Something that most other dramas lack. A lot of times you get a feeling that a performer is going through the motions waiting for an award but here you feel a belief from everyone that this is a story worth telling. It’s a very true to our nature story about love and how our choices can break our minds as well as our hearts. I don’t know if I’ll go back and watch more of Pedro’s films because of this, sometimes, just sometimes, a beautiful thing is a beautiful thing because at the right moment and the right mindset it speaks to us. Worth checking out if you have a soul!
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writers: Pedro Almodóvar, Alice Munro (short stories)
Stars: Adriana Ugarte, Rossy de Palma, Emma Suárez