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Talk to Her (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on April 4, 2013

Marco Zuluaga (Dario Grandinetti) is a writer doing a piece on the bullfighter Lydia González (Rosario Flores).  Though each struggles to get over a past romance, they fall in love.  And then she is gored in the ring and falls into the coma.  In the same ward of the hospital, Benigno Martin (Javier Cámara) is a nurse for another coma patient: Alicia (Leonor Watling).  Benigno was in love with her before her accident, but he loved her from a distance.  Now he cares for her tenderly.  The two men become friends, as Benigno tries to teach Marco how to care for and love Lydia.  But love can go too far.

I probably don’t need to outline the plot of Talk to Her, a fairly well-known film (its screenplay even won an Oscar).  But the truth is, I never quite know what to say about it.  This is my third time watching it and the previous two reviews said very little.  It’s a remarkable study of devotion and friendship and yearning.  It goes down very twisted roads and Almodóvar leaves it up to the viewer to pass judgment.  At the very least, it’s unsettling.  It’s potentially offensive.  It asks you to care about a character who performs a despicable act, though the character does it out of a misguided sense of love.

These are not easy things to wrestle with, and Almodóvar complicates it by making the film touching, melodramatic and even funny.  The characters are so rich and intriguing, the story is told with such a deft touch (with the director’s usual penchant for wild coincidences and ironic twists), that it becomes engrossing despite some troubling subject matter and conflicted emotions.  The subversion of traditional gender roles adds extra depth.

Icing on the cake: wonderful performances, terrific music and sublime use of Pina Bausch’s choreography.  And let’s not forget that bizarre silent movie.  Rating: Great (91)


2 Responses to “Talk to Her (rewatch)”

  1. Great review. Sounds like there is so much going on at once. Almodovar to a T. I will get around to seeing this one.

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