Wednesday 31 August 2016

Review: Julieta

Cert: 15 / 99 mins / Dir. Pedro Almodóvar / Trailer

Every so often, a movie comes along which doesn't exactly bowl you over, but intrigues the fuck out of you. Pedro Almodóvar's Spanish-language film Julieta fits seamlessly among those.

A study of loss, regret, jealousy and emotional faith, the film sees the eponymous character telling (ostensibly by writing a letter, but more realistically by narrating that to the audience and a series of extensive flashbacks) the story of her estrangement from her daughter, Antía, including events which she's tried to suppress in her own memory over the years.

Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte are both fantastic as the older and younger iterations of Julieta, respectively (and bonus props for the transition between the two, when it occurs). Even though the film was subtitled, both are utterly expressive in a way that transcends language altogether. It's not as outright Dramatic™ as I was expecting from the director of The Skin I Live In (it's not as Weird™, either), but the film has an immersiveness which held me captive from the first scene. It's that rare example of a piece which balances its performances perfectly with narrative structuring.

As delicate as it is quietly powerful, I know that Julieta is far better than I can appreciate in one viewing. But I'll have to let this one settle before re-visiting, I think.

How come the Spanish film industry produces features like this and gets them screened in mainstream UK cinemas, when the British film industry apparently can't (or won't)?

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
I'm actually not sure, but you've probably seen far more of Almodóvar's work than I have, so I'm preaching to the choir, here.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Only if you know it'll be your thing.
If you're going to take a chance on Julieta, it'll work just as well in your living room

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
It does.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
My frame of reference is severely limited here, but everyone involved has been a part of something very good, yes.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Not at all.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not at all.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 3: Okay, this movie is directed by Pedro Almodóvar of course, who also made I'm So Excited which featured Antonio Banderas, who rocked up in Expendables 3 alongside Harrison 'Solo' Ford.
All roads lead to Han, today.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…
(It was better than Quite Good, but I haven't absorbed enough to confidently score it higher, yet)

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
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