Pedro AlmodóvarSpain121 minutes2006ColourSpanish
Penélope Cruz evokes both Sophia Loren and Anna Magnani as a put-upon woman who must confront a terrible act of violence on the same day her mother returns from the dead.
Inspired by both Almodóvar's childhood in La Mancha and plot threads from several of his earlier films (including The Flower of My Secret and Law of Desire), Volver sees the director celebrating female fortitude and form all at once, in the vivacious vehicle of Penélope Cruz. In an Oscar-nominated performance, Cruz evokes both Sophia Loren and Anna Magnani as Raimunda, an already overextended woman who must confront a terrible act of violence on the same day her mother (Carmen Maura) returns from the dead. A kind of Almodóvarian meta-text — those familiar with the director's earlier work will definitely reap the richest rewards here — Volver amply testifies to its maker's growth as an artist: where many of his earlier films saw him struggling to balance tragedy and farce, here Almodóvar entwines these two opposing elements perfectly in his matrix of family, sexuality and violence. "Volver is a film cut like glass. It refracts the gaze of the cinema screen, sending it spinning across genres like shafts of criss-crossing light. It's as canny a movie as you'll ever see" (Little White Lies).