All About My Mother

According to most of the American mainstream press at the 1999 Cannes film festival, this consciousness-raising transsexual soap opera by aging Spanish enfant terrible Pedro Almodovar should have walked off with all the prizes. I guess it represents a significant advance in his career, giving us a kinder, gentler, more soulful Almodovar who makes a lot more references than usual to other movies: All About Eve and A Streetcar Named Desire especially, but also (in terms of the story’s point of departure) John Cassavetes’s Opening Night. For me it felt like a good many weeks at a politically correct summer camp, though the talented actorsincluding Cecilia Roth, Eloy Azorin, Marisa Paredes, Toni Canto, Antonia San Juan, and Penelope Cruzseem to enjoy the taste of the characters they’re playing. In Spanish with subtitles. R, 101 min. (JR)

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