Stars: Emma Suarez (Julieta), Adriana Ugarte (younger Julieta), Inma Cuesta, Dario Grandinetti, Susi Sanchez, Joaquin Notano, Bianca Pares, Priscilla Delgado and Michelle Jenner
Director/Scriptwriter: Pedro Almodovar from three stories by Alice Munro
Composer: Alberto Iglesias
Cinematographer: Jean-Claude Larrieu
Spanish language (subtitles)
Rating: R for themed material and sexual content
Running Length: 96 minutes
Nominated for An Academy Award in Foreign Language Category (Spain)
The woman in this film, Julieta (played in younger days by Adriana Ugarte and in maturity by Emma Suarez), is a woman with a broken heart. She is searching for her lost daughter, who is gone because of kidnapping? Family disagreement? The film comes from three stories by the author Alice Munro and is told in flashbacks. Director/scriptwriter Pedro Almodovar has woven the stories into a whole. The director’s touch is seen in the cinematography that is, at times, almost an actor in the film.
“Julieta” begins in the present where she lives in Madrid, Spain and has a long-term boyfriend, Lorenzo (Dario Grandinetti.) Julieta accidentally meets a childhood friend of her daughter, Antia, who vanished years ago. In the course of a conversation, it is let slip that Antia (Blanca Peres) is alive and has children. She would be in her late-twenties by now. This is a shock for Julieta who has managed to put her life back together by keeping a journal. Thus begins the search for Antia, though an acquaintance of Julieta's, Ava (Inma Cuesta) isn't always helpful. We see the distance between mother and daughter and guilt over various happenings, including a death in the family. Neither seemed aware of the other’s emotions until Antia disappears. It seems that Antia may have been influenced by a “religious” group. Julieta is so emotionally shocked by now, that her own health is a problem. What to do? Who to turn to? The puzzle begins.
The acting in the film is well done by all concerned. Emma Suarez shows us a woman (Julieta) with emotions who keeps to herself. Dario Grandinetti’s “Lorenzo” is a peaceful man who tries to help the best he can. Joaquin Notario as Julieta’s father gives us someone who doesn't know how to help his ill wife (Susi Sanchez) in a precarious situation. Everyone has a situation to deal with the best they can from absence to illness to dramatic circumstances. Such is life.
Putting three stories together into one can be done (reference “Certain Woman”), and using the scenery, too. But here, the film went well enough until the last third of the movie where there began to be bumps in the road and the plot was uneven. Keeping emotions to oneself isn't always the way to go, as mother and daughter found out. Life can be full of pleasant and unpleasant surprises.
Copyright 2017 Marie Asner