Disclaimer: This is not a review full of spoilers. Here I will only offer my thoughts and recommend it based on certain criteria. You must watch the movie for yourself and enjoy it in all of its pure, unfiltered, brand new glory.
Last fall I took a class called “Hispanic Cinema” for my Spanish minor and LOVED it. The class surveyed Spanish cinema from the beginning of Franco’s dictatorship to now, all in terms of the political, social and economic trajectory of Spanish history. Because of the class I can now analyze films in terms of cinematographic techniques and have a better understanding of Spanish history (as I should honor my ancestry).
As a result of the course, my personal favorite Spanish director is now Pedro Almodóvar. We watched Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto! and Carne trémula, which are both incredible films from different stages of Almodóvar’s career. My family has always raved about Volver so I decided to watch it over winter break with my mom.
Before watching Volver, I had a gut feeling that I’d fall in love with the film, but I had no idea how emotionally moving it would be. I found myself crying a few times during the film and digesting it emotionally even hours after watching it. The movie accurately portrays the difficulties of womanhood, the Spanish spirit and the importance of family, all with the classic Almodóvar touch.
Penélope Cruz did a phenomenal job of portraying the lead role, as did Carmen Maura (the lead role in Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto!) with portraying her mother. I felt connected to the family and the extended characters because of their relatability, compassion, authenticity and vulnerability. Although it’s heartbreaking and difficult to digest, the plot line is painfully realistic and leaves the audience with an aftertaste of thought. The women of the women embody the Spanish spirit and reminded me of my own family members with their habits, sayings and mannerisms.
I would consider Volver to be one of the best films that I have ever seen for its content, cinematography, acting and permanence. I highly recommend for you all to watch it! If you’ve seen Volver, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Actors: Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas