“JULIETA” My rating: B
99 minutes | MPAA rating: R
No contemporary director has examined mother/daughter relationships with the consistency or insight of Spain’s Pedro Almodovar.
At one time his latest effort, “Julieta,” would have been described as a “women’s picture.” But that superficial label fails to take into account the panache Almodovar brings to all of his projects (“Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” “Volver”).
Romantic loss has been his frequent topic. “Julieta” takes a different approach, being a saga about parental loss.
Drawn from three short stories by Canadian author Alice Munro, the screenplay opens with a chance encounter on a Madrid street between the 50-something Julieta (Emma Suarez) and Bea, the childhood best friend of her daughter Antia.
Bea reports that she recently ran into her old friend at Lake Como, where Antia was shopping with her children.
Julieta is stunned. A dozen years earlier the teenage Antia vanished into a cult. Bea’s report is the first real proof that her daughter is still alive and that Julieta is now a grandmother.
Overnight everything changes. Julieta scraps plans to relocate with her boyfriend to Portugal. She moves back into the same building where she once shared a flat with Antia, desperately hoping that her daughter will come looking for her there.
And she is compelled to write down important incidents from her past.
In these elaborate flashbacks we follow the steamy relationship of the young Julieta (now played by Adriana Ugarte) with Xoan (Daniel Grao), a hunky fisherman. Their union produces Antia.
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| Robert W. Butler