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Critics Review
Parallel Mothers review: Pedro Almodóvar’s movie tells a serious story surrounding motherhood

Penélope Cruz shines in a movie with strong performances from Milena Smit and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón

3.0
Akshay Krishna
Nov 22, 2021
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Story:

Janis and Ana meet at a maternity ward of a hospital and soon a bond develops between the two single mothers. While their life experiences and opinions about the life they will soon give birth are vastly different, they decide to stay in touch in the future. 

Review:

Pedro Almodovar is a filmmaker who has a separate fan base of his own. With his specific style of storytelling and setting, he has captivated, moved and entertained moviegoers for many years. The filmmaker is back once again, but this time with a story that has motherhood as the main focus. 

The movie kicks off with Penelope Cruz’s Janis and Milena Smit’s Ana meeting at the maternity ward, where we understand that Ana is an adolescent woman who is a soon to be a mother and is not quite ready for the ride ahead. But the two women grow an instant bond and are hopeful to meet up again in the future. 

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As the movie moves forward, it is understood that Almodovar has set up a movie that does not add anything unwanted or synthetic, but will focus on single motherhood about a woman who is strong and knows what she is doing and is doing well in life. But when the first hint of suspense and scandals are thrust forth towards Janis’ life, we hope that he has something special planned for us. 

Unlike his last work, Pain and Glory, the movie dials down on the straightforward comedy but replaces it with strong comments on several issues that would resonate with the Spanish audience. But when you find a way to connect the protagonist’s need to find the remains of her great ancestors to reunite them with her family, the narrative the filmmaker tries to pass about motherhood and family ties means a lot more. While this could be lost on the Indian audience, there is no doubt it would relate to the local audience. 

The movie also finds a way to tug at the heartstrings when it keeps pushing the protagonist to tragedies and tough decisions. 

However, the movie is technically everything you want to see from an Almodovar work. From the editing work and the sound work to the unmissable use of colour in the setting, the movie wreaks of the filmmaker’s trademark craft, but in a good way. And the fact that he does not pull back at using colours such as red, yellow, green, peach, olive and more even when the story is not all bright colours in the life of Cruz as the protagonist, reconfirms the filmmaker’s clout. 

Cruz also shines in a movie that begs for a strong performance. The star actor completely turns into a 40 somethings professional photographer single mother, who is strong and spirited and also excels when it comes to situations where the character comes into making tough calls. Milena Smit also delivers big and also exudes chemistry with Cruz. Aitana Sánchez-Gijón perfects her role as the failed mother who is also turning her life into an actor.

Verdict:

Parallel Mothers is an engaging tale with its fair share of domestic suspense, while also adding elements of drama, subtle comedy and a few twists that will catch you off guard. And the movie also produces this in all the ways you would expect from a Pedro Almodovar movie. 


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