Parallel Mothers is Pedro Almodovar’s most accessible film to date. It is a sublime piece that has two stories that run parallel throughout the film until the end when they meet. As with all his films, women are the beating heart and Parallel Mothers is no exception.
Janis (Penelope Cruz) and Ana (Milena Smit) are both single mothers and bedmates in the maternity ward of a hospital. They both give birth on the same day but their babies are taken to observation. However, when they get home the father of Janis’s baby casts doubt that the baby is indeed his. At the same time, Janis is seeking to get an unmarked grave exhumed so that those murdered during Franco’s reign of terror may receive a proper burial.
This film is so rich with colour and vibrancy and both actors give incredible performances. At first, you wonder what is the story here; why mothers. However, it becomes apparent that the mothers, the women left behind of the disappeared are the ones who kept their memories alive.
The fact that Janis and Ana’s babies were swapped matters little because love is love. At times the film can feel quite cliched and almost theatrical especially the scenes in Janis’s apartment but that is maybe the point, life is but a stage and we must all play our part.
It is an engaging film that feels intimate yet the pace is maintained. There are several emotional gut wrenching moments but the final scene will stay with you long after the credits roll. Give this vibrant, colourful and deeply emotional film a look.
Parallel Mothers is released in cinemas across the UK on Friday 28 January.
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