All About My Mother
Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, who won 1999’s Best Foreign Film Oscar and Cannes’ Best Director award for this film, has a way with women — even when they’re men. And in All About My Mother, a 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 Almodóvar 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.