When I first started The Criterion Project with my friend Conrado one of the first movies we reviewed was All About My Mother by famed Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, and I really enjoyed it. Almodóvar is great at creating compelling characters while adding his artistic flair. There are still many of his films I have not seen but I enjoyed All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Pain and Glory, and last year’s short The Human Voice.
Now we finally have Almodóvar‘s latest film Parallel Mothers out in theaters. I wish I could have included it in my end of the year lists and videos but the studio was slow in getting me a screener. Now I’ve seen it, and I not only enjoyed but think it is one of Almodóvar’s most approachable, entertaining films. You don’t have to be an indie viewer to enjoy Parallel Mothers. It’s a good story with great performances and engaging characters.
Penélope Cruz stars as Janis a middle-aged new Mother who shares a hospital room while giving birth with a teenage mom named Ana (Milena Smit). The 2 single Mothers become involved in an unexpected way and their bond is both powerful and painful. Almodóvar does a fantastic job making both women believable, easy to root for and yet frustrating at the same time. They are layered, emotionally true characters and both performances are Oscar-worthy.
Some may want something more daring from Almodóvar but I appreciated a more approachable film that is less challenging. You could almost describe Parallel Mothers as a thriller at times. It’s a very well done script. If it’s playing near you definitely check out this cinematic gem from 2021.
8.5 out of 10