films seen
average score
Spain - 74 years old
Alive and kicking
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One of Spain's most lauded international directors. A peculiar character whose films are full of color and life. Because of that, I prefer his straight-up comedies over his more dramatic output, but there's something for everyone here.


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de "Nervios"
1988 / 88m - Spain
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown poster

By far the best Almodóvar film I've seen so far, maybe not too surprising when it's also the most outright comical one I've watched. I didn't even realize Almodóvar had this in him. It's a pretty farcical affair, with a cast of colorful characters and outrageous situations, but not without some original moments.

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When Pepa is dumped over the phone by her lover, she wants to catch him before he leaves on vacation with another woman. But Pepa isn't the only one looking for Ivan, as his ex-wife is finally allowed to leave the psychiatric hospital. Meanwhile, Pepa's best friend is having some troubles of her own when her ex-lover turns out to be a wanted terrorist.

The colorful cinematography, the remarkable camera work and the eccentric cast of characters makes this a very enjoyable comedy. The relatively short runtime and the constant surprises keep things interesting, the only thing holding the film back a little is the comical timing, which isn't always on point. Other than that, a neat surprise.

Talk to Her

Hable con Ella
2002 / 112m - Spain
Drama, Romance
Talk to Her poster

Law of Desire

La Ley del Deseo
1987 / 102m - Spain
Drama, Thriller
Law of Desire poster

An earlier Almodóvar, which in Almodóvar's case, is not a bad thing. His earlier films are a bit more vibrant and dynamic compared to his later work. Law of Desire is no exception. While not a film that is typically in my wheelhouse, there was enough here to keep me entertained throughout.

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Pablo is a respected director, but his love for Juan, a younger man who doesn't love him back, makes it hard for him to focus on his job. He tries to forget Juan by hooking up with Antonio, but he turns out to be a rather jealous lover, and when he learns about Pablo's fascination with Juan, things get hairy.

The performances are fun, the cinematography is colorful and there are scenes that don't do all that much to advance the plot, but they are amusing and memorable. The film does get a bit too talkative at times and I didn't care too much for its artistic setting, other than that a solid Almodóvar.

Broken Embraces

Los Abrazos Rotos
2009 / 127m - Spain
Drama, Romance, Thriller
Broken Embraces poster

Typical Almodͳvar. The story isn't bad and the film as a whole is entertaining enough, but he simply lacks the stylistic finesse to make it something more. He tries though, but those attempts are just awkward and distracting. It's a decent enough film, but very forgettable and not really worth the 120+ running time.

Bad Education

La Mala Educación
2004 / 106m - Spain
Drama, Crime
Bad Education poster

Pain and Glory

Dolor y Gloria
2019 / 113m - Spain
Pain and Glory poster

I should probably focus more on Almodóvar's older work, his more recent films have never really done it for me. Pain and Glory has moments when Almodóvar's talent shines through, but in the end I didn't really care much for the characters, the drama and their struggles in life.

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Salvador Mallo is a director who has reached an age where he simply can't run away from taking a good hard look at his life. He doesn't really like what he sees and through his past, he tries to come to grips with the man he became. When an actor friend introduces him to drugs, Salvador may have found an alternative way out after all.

Banderas' character is a bit of a boring cliché, Almodóvar's signature style isn't half as vibrant as it used to be. I get that the man got a little older, but that's no excuse for his films to get duller. The cinematography and score are decent and because there's quite a bit of plot to wade through, it never gets too slow, but this was far from his best work.

The Skin I Live In

La Piel Que Habito
2011 / 120m - Spain
Mystery, Thriller
The Skin I Live In poster

Another middling Almodóvar. Not that The Skin I Live In sits within his normal range of films, it's a rather ambitious mix of thriller, mystery, drama and even minor horror elements, but in the end it's still Almodóvar directing, and his old-fashioned style doesn't do justice to the themes here.

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The first hour is a mess of different timelines, rest assured that the second hour clears up most of the confusion. The film revolves around a genius plastic surgeon responsible for an important scientific breakthrough. It's revealed early on that his ethics are pretty loose though, which isn't even taking into account the bigger reveal halfway through.

The story is quite disturbing, but performances are poor (Banderas in particular), the cinematography is either too static or not refined enough and the soundtrack is tedious. There are traces of a fun and interesting film here, but they're squandered by a director who is a complete mismatch for the film he tried to make.


2006 / 121m - Spain
Volver poster

Not the best Almodóvar. While it sounds pretty wild on paper, the film itself isn't as vibrant and original as I'd hoped it would be. That's an issue I have with most of his post-2000 films though, he's one of those rare directors whose older films are actually more appealing to me, so I came in prepared.

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When Raimunda's partner dies, she tries to keep this fact hidden from the outside world. It's not easy and it requires her to make up some wild stories, her life gets even more complicated when she hears stories about her mother coming back from the dead and appearing to familiars.

For a drama the film is quite colorful and light, but it lacks the energy of Almodóvar's older work. It also gets quite sentimental in the second half, whereas I was hoping for a more livelier finale. It's not a terrible film, just not all that memorable either, and considering the premise, that's a missed opportunity.

Live Flesh

Carne Trémula
1997 / 103m - Spain
Drama, Romance
Live Flesh poster

Almodóvar's film looks quite accomplished and rich without being overly pretty. Sadly the drama isn't half as convincing, neither are the actors. A rather construed story about three couples and their complex relationship that never really finds its footing. It's not terrible, but it really didn't do all that much for me.

All about My Mother

Todo sobre Mi Madre
1999 / 101m - Spain
All about My Mother poster