Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #184 Talk to Her

In Uncategorized on April 12, 2011 at 6:18 PM

Movie #184 Talk to Her

(2002, Spain, d. Pedro Almodovar)

Almodovar’s Talk to Her feels at times like a soap opera with a little gender switcheroo thrown in there for good measure. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. The film opens at a theater where two strangers sit next to each other. Benigno is a male nurse, who we will come to understand, is in love with a comatose patient of his. Marco is a travel guide who has recently fallen in love with a female matador. Over the course of the first act, Marco’s love is seriously injured in a bullfighting accident, putting her into a vegetative state. It is at the hospital where Marco and Benigno become friends. Now let me explain my opening comment: Every action these men make – their devotion, their adherence to values, their constant aid to the women – are very feminine qualities. And though we live in a society where femininity in males is not a highly regarded trait, here Almodovar seems to praise it. These men chat and display their hope in their own ways, reminiscing and helping each other out – as women do. However, there is an action that occurs later in the film that tries to throw our sympathies out the window by introducing an element of masculinity. It’s a strange act – one that on paper would seem unforgivable – but the audience can’t seem to let go of the connection we share with the characters. It is a sign of Almodovar’s writing brilliance. It takes a lot to forget the unforgivable, yet here we have. Almodovar has pointed to the strength of the relationship as well as the malleability of them – as demonstrated by the final few seconds of the film. Finally, there is a sequence in the movie, when Benigno is recounting a silent film he’d seen earlier – that is probably one of the most inspired things I’ve seen. It all comes back to the sense of ultimate dedication love can bring, and if you’re looking for some inspiration for a short film, I would easily recommend this. A dense and complex film, Talk to Her is a bit melodramatic but it is smart and touching as well, affecting you in a way that you wouldn’t think possible.

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