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Madres Paralelas/Parallel Mothers (2021) – Movie Review

Over the last decade, Pedró Almodóvar has been considered to be one of the most renowned Spanish directors in cinema history. He is well known for directing dramatic films that driven by melodrama, irreverent humor, complex storylines and its ability to to delve deeper into real life themes, such as sexual liberation, forgiveness and depression. He is also noted for his versatility, from directing black-comedy films such as Women on The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown, dramas like Volver or psychological thrillers like The Skin I Live In. So, it’s no surprise why he continues to impress with his latest film, Parallel Mothers (Spanish: Madres Paralelas), which is a great entry in Almodóvar’s catalogue. Parallel Mothers is a terrific film that focuses on the hardships of motherhood, as well as showcasing that forgiveness is a great way to deal with conflict.

Parallel Mothers focuses on two women, Janis and Ana, who meet at a hospital room as they are about to give birth. While Janis is happy to be a mother, Ana is scared of motherhood, as it is a new thing to her. Both women begin to form a strong bond as they face motherhood together. However, things gets turned upside down when one of the mothers lose her daughter and the other one finds out her daughter is actually the other one’s.

Almodóvar once again does a great job, as he focuses on the main relationship of the two female leads, as well as exploring how hard motherhood can be and showcases its consequences. The movie makes it clear that being a mother is not a easy task as it seems and it does a beautiful job in showing that aspect. It also does a great job in fleshing out the main characters, as the movie uses its flashbacks to further advance the present day’s story. Another aspect I liked about the film is how intelligent it is. It manages to avoid unnecessary exposition and utilizes the dialogue and expression to showcase how the characters feel.

The cinematography is beautiful to look at and José Luis Alcaine deserves a lot of credit. The score is also well done and the pacing keeps the story moving at an engaging direction. As for the performances, Penelopé Cruz is stunning in her role as middle aged woman finding out the truth about her birth. Cruz is astonishing as always and I hope she continues to give more engaging performances in films like this. She also shares great chemistry with the cast, from Milena Smit, who does an equally phenominal job as Ana, to Isreal Elejalde as Arturo.

There are some setbacks in the film: the second act hurts the pacing a bit and I wasn’t very convinced by Janis and Ana’s lesbian storyline near the end of the film. It felt a bit rushed. Still, Parallel Mothers is a terrific Spanish drama that delivers an emotional experience from start to finish and if you’re into foreign films, give this one a try.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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