Monday, February 27, 2017

Movie Review: JULIETA (2016)

Julieta (2016). Dir: Pedro Almodovar. Starring Emma Suárez, Adriana Ugarte, Daniel Grao, Inma Cuesta and Darío Grandinetti. R. Spanish with English subtitles.

Julieta is a middle-aged woman planning to move from Madrid with her boyfriend, a writer named Lorenzo; they live an affluent, sophisticated life full of books and art. But on the day of the move Julieta encounters a ghost from her past, a young woman named Bea who was once the best friend of Julieta's daughter Antía. It quickly becomes clear that Antía and Julieta are estranged; Julieta doesn't even know where her daughter lives, or that she has had three children. Running into Bea sends Julieta into a tailspin and her new life unravels as she attempts to reconnect to her past.

Julieta is gorgeous to look at. This is my first Pedro Almodovar film and I fell in love with the lush colors, the settings and costumes just this side of outlandish. The color red appears in almost every shot like a subliminal message; art and nature define and direct the characters' lives. Young Julieta is dressed like an 80s paradigm from her spiky hair to her shoulder pads and booties. Older Julieta is a sleeker sophisticate and played by a different actress as drawn and secretive and missing a piece of herself. Lorenzo assists in putting the two Julietas back together, but only maturity, empathy and love can do the job in the end.

Julieta is based on three short stories by Alice Munro from her 2004 book Runaway, "Chance," "Soon," and "Silence," and the characters and story have her trademark depth and authenticity but it's the two actresses, Emma Suárez as the older Julieta and Adriana Ugarte as the younger, who bring her to life. Julieta's crushing guilt at the fate of Antía's father is almost unbearable and both Suárez and Ugarte wear it like their own skin.

I really loved Julieta and would strongly recommend it as a film that shows the heart of a woman laid bare.

Rating: RUSH