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Movies: Talk To Her

IMDB categorizes the new Pedro Almodóvar film Talk To Her as a "Comedy / Drama / Romance".

Well, I'll give 'em the first two. It's a drama that's often funny. And it is a movie about love. But, at it's core, it sure ain't about romance. Romance, to my mind, is the interaction between people in love: the flirting, the courting, the emotional ties. You'll find none of that in this film -- not after the first half an hour, at any rate. Talk To Her, if anything, is a film about the logic of love in the absence of romance. It's not that the men in the movie aren't romantic -- indeed, they seem overly so -- it's just that the women they love are in no condition to return their affection.

Early in the film, freelance journalist Marco interviews Lydia, the most renowned female bull fighter in Spain, and the two are soon making googly eyes in the backseat of a car. The film then fast-forwards to the point where they are an established couple. But this phase of their relationship is abruptly truncated after Lydia is gored in the ring and falls into a coma. Here endth the romance.

This is also the point where the love story begins. While wandering the halls of Lydia's hospital, Marco meets Benigno, a nurse who is caring for a comatose woman that he loves. The unique nature of their shared predicament causes the two men to form a close bond, and they become fast friends over many discussions about the difficulties of loving someone unable to reciprocate.

What makes Talk To Her so moving is that Marco and Benigno are very different people, men who almost certainly would never have met (much less become buddies) under any other circumstances. As a result, they tend to view things from completely different perspectives. Marco, for example, views Lydia's condition as a curse, something that has interrupted their love affair; Benigno, on the other hand, has idealized his "relationship" with his patient, pointing out that he and his comatose sweetheart get along much better than most married couples.

Many "romantic comedies"use absurd situations to fuel one-dimensional storylines -- take, for example, While You Were Sleeping, where Sandra Bollock pretends to be engaged to a comatose man and hilarity, as always, ensues. Talk To Her, on the other hand, takes an unlikely premise -- dissimilar men brought together by tragedy -- and uses it to showcase aspects of human emotion that are rarely explored on film. By focusing on love, and the difficult decisions that friendship demands, Almodóvar has created a work that is an order of magnitude greater than your run-of-the-mill "Comedy / Drama / Romance".

Posted on March 06, 2003 to Movies





Comments

Renounced -> Renowned

Reprocate -> Reciprocate

Perspectives -> Perspectives

This is really just a test to see whether anyone is reading, right?

Anyway, thanks for your always-entertaining site.

Posted by: Miss Speller on March 7, 2003 12:49 PM

Geez, that girl's more of a finger-wagger than I am!

p.s. you neglected to mention how deeply disturbing Benigno's character is and how hot the actor playing Marco is. Discriminating readers want to know.

Posted by: ranger on March 7, 2003 1:24 PM

"Perspectives -> Perspectives" ???

Posted by: Caleb on March 7, 2003 2:43 PM

Hey Matthew--I really liked this review. I liked it so much I may see City of God although I'm kind of wimpy when it comes to violent movies.

I'm THINKING of buying a t-shirt. I'm amused that you can buy both pro and anti-war shirts from the same place. Ah, capitalism...

Posted by: Miel on March 8, 2003 9:13 PM

Sandra "Bollock" - now that's funny! :)

Posted by: Gen Kanai on March 10, 2003 8:21 AM


where did you come from?

Posted by: autamatamucus on April 23, 2004 2:11 PM