Film Review: "Hable con Ella" (2002)

Posted by prla1983 on August 03, 2006 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

"Hable con Ella" is the first Almodovar film I see so I can't quite put this in perspective. What I can say is that this is a powerful drama done in a way that only non-American cinema looks and feels. There's just a "je ne sais quois" that sets this kind of cinema apart and Almodovar seems to be a master of this effect.

Perhaps much of the reason behind that is how crudely and in-your-face Almodovar tells us the story he chose to tell us, never shying away from the bare naked truth of what it really means to be in a comatose state. This, in fact, is the story of two women who are in a vegetative state and who both have a man deeply caring for them. Benigno is a male nurse who hardly knew Alicia but who fell in love with her after she had a traffic accident and got under his care. Marco had feelings for Lydia, the most famous female bullfighter in Spain, but after she's gored by a bull, all that's left to him is trying to put the pieces of his life back together while seating at her bedside.

The core of the film turns out to be the developing relationship between Benigno and Marco inside the clinic. This lends itself to thought provoking moral issues that Almodovar has no problem in presenting us in a daring and touching manner. From showing us objectively the effort that's involved in taking daily care of someone who is in a coma, to a brilliantly metaphoric short and sexually explicit - in its own extraordinarily peculiar way - silent movie, "Hable con Ella" is never ashamed of itself.

Personally, though, I couldn't really connect with these four people. I felt there was some missing link that kept me from caring as much as I felt the viewer is intended to care. Perhaps this warrants a second viewing some other time, maybe then, with the plot details out of the way, it reveals subtleties on the characters that I couldn't quite grasp upon first viewing.

Still, a beautifully constructed film.

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