Alice King
July 21, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

All About My Mother

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
102 minutes
performer
Penelope Cruz, Cecilia Roth
director
Pedro Almodovar
author
Pedro Almodovar
genre
Comedy, Drama, Foreign Language

We gave it an A

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, who won 1999’s Best Foreign Film Oscar and Cannes’ Best Director award for this film, All About My Mother, has a way with women — even when they’re men. And in this touching — but never too far from campy — melodrama, natural-born ladies are almost outnumbered by the artificial kind: There’s grieving mother Manuela (Roth), in search of her son’s father (a transvestite lady-killer called Lola); a transsexual prostitute-turned-personal assistant; a pregnant, HIV-positive nun (Cruz); and an aging actress (the excellent Marisa Paredes). The odd sisterhood that develops between these gals recollects the Almodovar of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (especially a hilariously tipsy dish session shot against the director’s signature ’70s bachelor-pad decor), but with newly mature underpinnings. Womanhood may mean tarting up in faux Chanel to improve one’s mood, but it also can mean the indescribable loss a mother feels for her departed child. A

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