All About My Mother (Todo sobre mi madre)

All About My Mother

You are more authentic the more you resemble what you’ve dreamed of being.

All About My Mother is a Spanish film directed by Pedro Almodovar; it is one of the many foreign films on the list that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and it is said qualification that more likely than not landed it on the list, or at least made it known enough to warrant serious consideration. I’m not really sure why this is on the list; there really wasn’t anything special that seemed to warrant its inclusion, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

The film opens with a mother and her son Esteban, who attend a stage production of A Streetcar Named Desire for his birthday. Afterwards, Esteban is hit by a car and killed, and the mother, a nurse herself, signs off to have her son’s organs donated. I spent the first half hour or so trying to guess where the plot would head from there; was it a drama about getting to know the recipients of her son’s organs? Was it a movie dealing with the grief of losing a child in the prime of life? Even the film itself seemed a bit confused as to where it wanted to go in the first half hour or so, switching plots around and going in different directions, and even jumping around in time as well. Still, it kept me engaged with the film, wondering where it would go and what would happen, so if this was the film’s intention, then it succeeds. The film ends up really being about the search for the boy’s long-lost father, a transvestite, and how her journey to find the father affects her life anew.

A lot happens in this film, and it seemed rather aimless at times, as if it didn’t know what it wanted to be because it was juggling so many different possible plotlines, but it was sweet in many ways, and at the very least it was well-acted. This is another hard one to recommend, because of how disjointed it seems to be as a film; indeed, I’m not quite sure of a particular demographic I could recommend this to, since it doesn’t directly appeal to one or the other. All I can say is that I was entertained through the running time, so the film at least accomplished its job.

Arbitrary Rating: 7/10

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