The Essential Movie Library #52: Talk to Her (2002)

Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almod贸var’s masterpiece, about men trying to communicate with the literally comatose women they love.
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A real-life man of La Mancha, where he was born, Pedro Almod贸var can be called a quixotic filmmaker in both his intentions and processes, having schooled himself on the cinema of Bu帽uel, Hitchcock, George Cukor, and German renegade Rainer Werner Fassbinder, whose sensibility the Spanish filmmaker most shares albeit with an outrageous sense of humor thrown into the mix. Almod贸var makes movies that are a great mess, which is to say that sometimes they鈥檙e greater than they are messy (All About My Mother) and sometimes they鈥檙e messier than they are great (Women on the Verge of a Breakdown); for someone growing up gay in a country so Catholic where memories of Franco aren鈥檛 yet dim enough, the messier that art is, the truer.

Almod贸var is always redeemed by a generosity of spirit鈥攐ne is hard-pressed to remember a truly mean moment in any of his pictures鈥攁nd Talk to Her, which is no mess and all great, is his masterpiece, about men trying to communicate with the literally comatose women they love. Here everything comes together with the sort of assurance that feels no compulsion to explain emotional unquantifiables, particularly in a story about the secrets we鈥檙e entitled to keep even from those we love, and the secrets that, kept with those we love, constitute a breach of faith. Talk to Her feels at once millennial and timeless in the way its various narratives loop their revelations m枚bius-like, and its own secret is that the heart won鈥檛 be denied in even the craziest of centuries.

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