Talk to Her (2002)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Romantic Drama, Medical Drama  |   Release Date - Nov 22, 2002 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - Spain   |   MPAA Rating - R
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As a filmmaker who has built a career out of creating stellar roles for actresses, director Pedro Almodóvar has taken on some bold challenges for Talk to Her. A bizarre love story of a technically nonexistent relationship, it doesn't allow for easy spiritual redemption. Simple melodramatic terms are avoided when the central female characters are rendered unresponsive but ever-present. One of them, Lydia (Rosario Flores), is even positioned in horrifying bullfighting scenes that capture all the gruesome sadness and reality of the ultramasculine sport. When the would-be leading ladies drop out into comas, the two men are forced to deal with all the messy and troubling aspects of relationships -- or lack thereof. Acting as the film's anchor, the balding and muscular Marco (Dario Grandinetti) cries intermittently throughout the film, a small detail that seems almost revolutionary in this context. With a bravery and steadfast kindness, he forges a friendship with the deeply troubled Benigno (Javier Camara) whose mental illness leads the film into several dark places, including a wildly cinematic fantasy construction of sexual exploration. By contrast, the freshly lit scenes of tenderness with crisp white cotton garments belie the destructiveness Benigno is capable of. However disturbing the situation eventually becomes, these scenes speak volumes about the power of devotion as a motivator. Several side characters provide a background for the themes dealt with in the central narrative -- that of the power of faith to renew and transform. But like many human relationships, the result isn't clearly defined, leaving a confusing mess of conflicting emotions. Also, like the film's many well-staged modern dance sequences, the power lies in the constant interplay of reasoning between logic and belief. Ambiguity is one of the film's best assets, leaving the viewer with plenty of moral space for existential questioning.