Saturday, January 11, 2003

Talk to Her (IMDB) (Netflix)
Real men don't let a little thing like a coma come between them and their loved ones, at least not in the imagination of Pedro Almodóvar (All About My Mother, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!). Benigno and Marco each have someone in the vegetative way, but approach their circumstances differently, one seeing it as problem, the other, an opportunity (and what might that be...). This leads to, as the IBM manuals used to say, "unpredictable results."

Almodóvar's typical looseness with reality is more under control here, mostly contained in some plays- and a movie-within-a-movie pieces (the movie bit is also a good litmus test to see if your date has any prudish tendencies, but is mainly good clean--we hope--fun). Javier Cámara, as Benigno, does a really subtle job with a role that could come off the rails any time. And while Talk to Her works on the whole, there are a few too-convenient moments, and at least one missed opportunity (the second bullfight) that would have built in some tension and generated more affection for two of the characters. It's also too languid by half, making this relatively short 112-minute film play like 150. A Golden Globe nominee for best foreign film, however, so somebody likes this a lot, but for me, more work has been done with less concept in other films.