Volver is a Spanish drama film directed by acclaimed director Pedro Almodovar and features famous actress such as Penelope Cruz and Carmen Maura. It was nominated for awards in Cannes and also received recognitions in the media. With this movie being so renowned, we are here to make sure that it’s not overhyped just because of its cast and director choice. So is Volver really such a great film that does not depend on an abstract theme? Read on below to find out!
(This review is as spoiler-free as possible, however, there might still be some minor spoilers due to the necessity of it to write the review)
Raimunda is a woman who has to work hard to feed her poor family and also raising her daughter in Madrid. However, unfortunate things start to happen that forces her to find a way to protect her daughter. At the same time, a tragedy from the past begins to haunt her back and both seem to link indirectly. Will she be able to cope through and uncover the secret from the past?
I love how the narrative is unfolding through the film brilliantly. Each event that occurs keeps you hooked to find out the truth behind the tragedy. Also, the director manages to create a compelling story that is also relatable to the audiences, which leaves me impressed. At the same time, the usage of mystery with slight horror atmosphere makes a tense yet interesting way to tell the story and keeps the story flowing. The pacing is almost perfect, where bad things happen early in the film and the mystery is sustained throughout the movie. It is only when nearing the middle end that it kind of drags a bit, but overall the pacing is excellent for this two-hour film.
Characters are full of personalities and the performance of Penelope in her role is almost perfect. She is able to capture that emotion, body languages and characteristics of a struggling mother that is hiding her pain deep in her heart but still tries to act normal. Other characters also receive enough screen time and each of them plays important role in the story, even the minor characters. Lastly, the music and soundtracks fit the movie and the theme song that is played in the middle portion captures the feeling of sadness that is kept away intentionally. Just brilliant!