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"Talk to Her"

Directed by Pedro Almodóvar.
Written by Pedro Almodóvar.
Starring Rosario Flores, Javier Cámara, Darío Grandinetti and Leonor Watling.
Release Year:  2002

Review Date:  1/12/03

Congratulations to the greatest flag football team in the history of the Capital Alumni Network, THE University of Virginia Cavaliers, coached by Gordon “The Professional” Stokes.  By running the table (14-0) and beating a hapless Arizona State team in the final, Stokes has cemented his status as the Greatest Coach in CAN History Not Named Justin Bell.  Hehehe...seriously, congrats to all of the members of the UVA squad, and to the rest of you CAN members...suck it! 


Pedro Almodovar’s latest film, “Talk to Her”, made me think mid-film why we don’t celebrate the guy more than we do.  Probably because he is a foreigner.  But, if you go back and look and some of his last, oh, five films—including the Oscar winning film “All About My Mother”—he just hasn’t made a bad film in the last 15 years of his work.

And, although he typically has some more sexual stuff going on in his films, “Talk to Her” is a drama that stays mostly away from the bedroom to give us the tale of four people connected by tragedy at a hospital somewhere in Spain.  There’s Benigno (Javier Camara), a lonely male nurse that lusts after Alicia (Leonor Watling), a woman in a four-year coma when the film opens.  There’s Lydia (Rosario Flores), a champion bullfighter that falls for a writer named Marco (Dario Grandinetti), who meets Lydia to try and write a profile of her for his country’s national newspaper.  Over the course of the next 12 months, a pretty interesting set of circumstances bring the four of them together, and as one pratfall after another strikes the principal characters, we learn what the value of communication is for all of us when time is short.

Almodovar gets very impassioned performances from all of his characters, especially his male leads this time around; after spending damned near all of “All About My Mother” with the fairer sex, it is cool to see a change of pace go so effortlessly for the director.  Grandinetti’s character goes through the biggest progression in the film and he has eyes that just make you sad every time you see them.  Much like Eminem in “8 Mile”, Grandinetti is just very watchable here, whether he is relating with his lover or pleading with officials to do the right thing late in the film.  Flores is as hard-edged as Watling is beautiful, and they make for an incredible set of contrasting romantic leads.

The beautiful shots here in “Talk to Her” accentuate an impressive Spanish production and the mix of static overhead shots, smooth dolly progressions and sharp close-ups keep the characters looking fresh for the whole film, and a good score help round off the great production values of the flick.  However, there are some slow spots just after the halfway point that had me periodically near dozing off; there is just a period where not too much happens and the film could have used a jolt.  That jolt DOES come (in a scene that is an early front-runner for Holy Shit Scene of the Year, a scene I will just refer to now as “The Midget Muffdive”), but the pacing of “Talk to Her” could have used a little more work.

Otherwise, this is a solid film and will assuredly be nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar when the time comes.  Check, check, check it out!

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09