Volver (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarStar
Review byMatthew Turner23/08/2006

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 118 mins

Beautifully shot, superbly acted and genuinely moving, this is one of Almodovar's best films and easily one of the films of the year.

What's it all about?
Penelope Cruz stars as Raimunda, a mother who dreams of owning her own business so she can provide for her teenage daughter Paula (Yohana Cobo). When Raimunda accidentally kills her loutish layabout husband (Antonio de la Torre), the two women dispose of the body and then find their lives upended when Raimunda is asked to look after a neighbour's soon to be sold restaurant.

As if that wasn't enough to be dealing with, Raimunda's sister Sole (Lola Duenas) is convinced she's just had an encounter with their dead mother Irene (Carmen Maura), who wants to heal a long-standing rift with her daughter. And when an incredulous Raimunda is reunited with her mother, several old family secrets come to light.

The Good
Almodovar describes Volver (which means to return or come back) as a mixture of Mildred Pierce (classic Hollywood thriller) and Arsenic and Old Lace (farce) combined with the surrealistic naturalism of his earlier films. Given the various different elements in the film, Almodovar's control of the tone is masterful, keeping things deceptively simple and believable, despite the supernatural elements.

Penelope Cruz has never looked more beautiful and she gives a sensational, career best performance as Raimunda. It's also a treat to see Almodovar reunited with leading lady Carmen Maura after more than a decade apart and there's strong support from the likes of Chus Lampreave (as Raimunda's aunt) and Yohana Cobo.

The Great
The multi-layered script is excellent, combining Hitchcockian thriller elements with genuinely moving emotional scenes and flashes of warm humour. There's also a superb soundtrack which is used to memorable effect in Raimunda's singing scene.

Worth seeing?
Volver is a thoroughly engaging, frequently moving and beautifully made film with a terrific central performance from Penelope Cruz. Unmissable and one of the best films of the year.

Film Trailer

Volver (15)
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Content updated: 20/10/2017 09:34

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