Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios/Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Movie name: Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios/Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Year of release: 1988
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Stars: Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano, Maria Barranco, Rossy de Palma, Fernando Guillen, Chus Lampreave, Kiti Manver, Guillermo Montesinos, Loles Leon
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 9

Synopsis:"Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios" marked the first encounter of Pedro Almodovar with Hollywood, in the sense that it became his first film to be Oscar nominated (for best foreign film). It was also the film that finally broke him to the larger audience, bringing an attention to his work like none of his previous films had done thus far. The film follows the life of Pepa, an actress who is going through a meltdown. Pepa's lover has abandoned her through the telephone and Pepa has discovered some shocking news that she needs to share with him. Her ex-lover is cowardly avoiding her and Pepa resorts to checking places she knows he can be, in order to confront him. In one of these outings, Pepa meets the son of his ex-lover, who by coincidence shows up at her apartment wanting to buy it. Adding to this tangled web comes Pepa's best friend, Candela, who has been involved with some less than licit lover.
If Almodovar's films always had a touch of irreverence and humor, "Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios" goes full blown in that department. The stage is set, with a tangled web of people crossing paths and losing track of each other. Again the center stage are women, with their relationship problems - Pepa, played fantastically by the energetic Carmen Maura - takes the lead, going through different meltdowns, all in the hopes of keeping her lover, when she is obviously the real dynamo in the relationship. Almodovar creates fantastic characters, always with different details and Pepa is no different - in her need to restore her relationship she ultimately finds something more important - herself. A brilliant comedy.