This week’s “F.I.L.M.” is Pedro Almodovar’s “Volver,” a movie which you might remember for getting Penelope Cruz her first Academy Award nomination. Technically, it’s a drama, but “Volver” is one of the most killer fun dramas I’ve ever had the privilege of watching. The movie has a killer sense of irony, which makes for one crazy entertaining time.
(Oh, and for anyone who doesn’t know Spanish other than hola, “volver” means to return.)
Cruz bares her acting chops as Raimunda, the beautiful mother and wife. She and her sister Sole have a very peculiar relationship, and it has not been particularly strong since they lost their parents in a tragic fire several years ago. However, the rumor mill is buzzing that the ghost of their mother, Irene, has been spotted. This talk comes just as the sisters have begun to finally move on from the tragedy, and it only serves to aggravate matters.
The apparition appears to Sole but chooses to hide herself from Raimunda, with whom she didn’t have a relationship. This is probably for the better because Raimunda has plenty on her plate without having to worry about her mother’s ghost. I personally think the back of the DVD case says it best: “Raimunda has problems of her own, the least of which is a corpse in her freezer!”
Although you won’t catch Cruz traipsing around pink fabric in lingerie in “Volver,” she is at her absolute best here. The actress shows an incredible emotional range, readily adapting herself to whatever mood the scene calls for. She is equally effective in the film’s dramatic scenes as she is in the more light ones, and the result is a performance that is quite poignant. Here’s to hoping that she and Almodovar take on more great projects together (or at least that they don’t stop at “Broken Embraces”)!