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All About My Mother (Widescreen)

Cecilia Roth , Marisa Paredes , Pedro Almodóvar    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 67.80
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All About My Mother (Widescreen) + Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Sous-titres français)
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After her son is killed in an accident, Manuela (Cecilia Roth) leaves Madrid for her old haunts in Barcelona. She reconnects with an old friend, a pre-op transsexual prostitute named La Agrado (Antonia San Juan), who introduces her to Rosa (Penélope Cruz), a young nun who turns out to be pregnant. Meanwhile, Manuela becomes a personal assistant for Huma Rojo (Marisa Paredes), an actress currently playing Blanche DuBois in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire. All About My Mother traces the delicate web of friendship and loss that binds these women together. The movie is dedicated to the actresses of the world, so it's not surprising that all the performances are superb. Roth in particular anchors All About My Mother with compassion and generosity. But fans of writer-director Pedro Almodóvar needn't fret--as always, Almodóvar's work undermines conventional notions of sexual identity and embraces all human possibilities with bright colors and melodramatic plotting. However, All About My Mother approaches its twists and turns with a broader emotional scope than most of Almodóvar's work; even the more extravagant aspects of the story are presented quietly, to allow the sadness of life to be as present as the irrepressible vitality of the characters. Almodóvar embraces pettiness, jealousy, and grief as much as kindness, courage, and outrageousness, and the movie is the richer for it. --Bret Fetzer

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible March 15 2004
Format:DVD
Probably my favourite film of all time!
Almodovar does it every time without fail.
He creates stories using characters that would be unsympathetically portrayed by other directors, yet he creates empathy within you even for the most screwed up them.
In this story, dealing with the love a mother has for her son, and her tragic loss when he dies, you meet prostitutes, transsexuals, transvestites and nuns with HIV!
Sounds ridiculous, but the director is a genius.
It's worth noting that this film won an Oscar for Best International Movie.
A truly moving, emotional, funny and thought provoking story, with colourful characters and told with genuine warmth.
I defy anyone not to be moved...
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Format:DVD
The death by accident of a mother's much loved son compels her to go to Barcelona and inform the father, who doesn't even know of the boy's existence. Finding the father is not so easy and by going to Barcelona, the mother digs back into a world she had left behind in order to bring up her son. It is a sordid but colourful world with transvestite prostitutes, junkies, an AIDs riddled nun, divas, and the usual associates of one's past. Remember that this is Almodovar, not Ivory-Merchant. However, these people are not displayed as freaks, but portrayed sympathetically. Almodovar celebrates their lives. He does not pass judgement.
Like other Almodovar films, the complex story line shows the strains that pull apart and bring together relationships. The emotional lives of the characters are laid bare. While there may be melodrama, there is a strict avoidance of sentimentality. The acting is wonderful, especially Cecilia Roth, who for some reason reminds me of the British actress, Hannah Gordon.
My only criticism is the use of coincidence. This is also a feature of other Almodovar's films; but here he stretches it a bit far. For instance, first the Cecilia Roth character steps in to take the part of an actress in a professional stage play, to great acclaim, and then when she leaves it, her transvestite friend, who as far as I know has never acted in his life, effortlessly takes over. This is a small criticism. "All About My Mother" is a splendid film by a great film maker. Without being a dreary feminist polemic, it is a celebration of women in all their roles: as mothers, as lovers, as carers; and to those who want to be women. Warmly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars parents were people long before they ever had you March 15 2004
By momazon
Format:DVD
The title character here --- the man behind the "my" in "All About My Mother" -- actually dies in the beginning of the film, on his 18th birthday, right after he asks his single mother to finally tell him about his father. She never has, and he dies without the knowledge.
Greatly aggrieved, she decides to fulfill his wish post-humously. She takes the train from Madrid to Barcelona -- from where she ran away when pregnant and had never returned. It turns out that she used to appear in a theater group's rendition of "A Streetcar Named Desire". She finds the theater that features the same play (in fact, she and her son had seen the same traveling theater group in Madrid the night he died.) She takes a job there and makes friends with the two lesbian stars of the play. She also reconnects with her friends from her past life, althogh not all --- Lola is conspicuously missing, and everyone wonders where she is.
Catch Penelope Cruz well-cast in a spectacularly understated role as Sister Rosa, a pregnant nun. She is excellent!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Truth is beyond any preset limits March 7 2004
Format:DVD
You must be Spanish today to be able to produce such a film entirely dedicated to the concept of the « son ». The real son who was born, raised and educated by his mother, because of the total absence of the father, because the father is not « presentable » to the son, because teh father is a semi-transexual transvestite, what's more addicted to heroin and infested with AIDS. The film becomes poignant, a lot more than sentimental, compassionate, pathetic or any thing else of the kind, when one mother who has just lost her teenage son from this father meets with a nun who is carrying the not yet born son of this very same father. It could become bleak since the new mother is HIV positive, or even densely black since she dies during delivery, and yet it remains luminous when the father discovers the truth about his first son and then discovers his second son, a few weeks before he, this father, dies. This luminosity is multiplied because an actress who is performing Blanche in « A Streetcar Named Desire », brings into the film all the dense meaning conveyed by this situation and the author of the play. Never the film becomes critical. Never the film hides or distanciates the situation and the professions of some of these newly born « women ». Never the film becomes gross or sickening. It is a master piece on a fundamental and essential problem in our societies, a problem that concerns millions and millions of people, men, women and children alike : gender identity and AIDS. To hide it would be a crime.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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4.0 out of 5 stars "I went after my son's heart" March 3 2004
Format:DVD
Watching ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER is a strange journey; just when you think it went off on a tangent, it pulls the viewer back in with authentic and convincing emotional portrayals of grief and loss, which ultimately results in a satisfying film. Spanish films, and in particular Pedro Almodovar films, are well crafted and worth searching out in the video store, and ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER doesn't disappoint. This film follows the story of Manuela who loses her beloved son Estaban in a car accident. After his death she realizes that his biggest wish is to know who his father is. Traveling from Madrid to Barcelona Manuela engages on a trip that is both geographical and emotional. She eventually comes to terms with her ex-husband Lola, who is a cross-dresser and drug addict. The story of Lola is deeply sad and unsettling. Equally thought provoking is Penelope Cruz's performance as a nun whose life is turned upside down after being intimate with Lola. There are no quintessential Hollywood happy endings in this film, rather just honest and realistic partings of the characters. Recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite movie
Peter Almodovar is one of my favorite film director, All about my mother is - in my opinion - one of his top movies. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Eva Mickova
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Almodovar film
My favorite Almodovar film to this date. He finally combines the best of his older, absurdist films, with his new found
maturity and real emotion that began to emerge in... Read more
Published on April 6 2011 by K. Gordon
2.0 out of 5 stars All about What??
The actresses are good. The subject/hidden feeling as explored are also good. However can't the director work out a better, compelling plot line, a reasonable/believable touching... Read more
Published on May 24 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars great dvd edition of another fine Almodovar film
Manuela has just lost her son in a traffic accident and travels to Barcelone to look up old friends, including the transvestite who abandoned her 18 years ago never knowing she was... Read more
Published on Dec 16 2003 by audrey
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential to the true film fanatic
"All About My Mother" eschews the trite little star-studded pap that passes for drama in Hollywood these days, and carries with it a tremendous pedigree: masterful acting... Read more
Published on Sept. 14 2003 by Greekfreak
5.0 out of 5 stars /////////////
The problem with too many "dramas" is that they constantly fall into straightjackets like "tearjerker" or "realist", loaded with terrible amounts of... Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2003 by fat_runner
5.0 out of 5 stars All About Las Mujeres....
I bought this dvd recently at a discount as a previously viewed item. I've always enjoyed Pedro Almodovar's work, especially my favorite, "Women on the Verge of a Nervous... Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2003 by Daryl B
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I loved this movie. Almodovar is very talented at making a movie interesting and a little bit quirky, but very emotionally impacting. Read more
Published on July 18 2003 by J. Jones
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