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Dec 26, 2006

Fletch's Film Review: Volver

Why do you have to go to Europe to get films made about women that don't qualify as "chick flicks?" That may not be a hard and fast rule, but just think of some of the recent examples from Europe versus their American counterparts. In one corner, I present to you the ouevre of films made by American stars Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts and selected works by Reese Witherspoon, Ashley Judd and Cameron Diaz. In the other corner, we have Amelie, Run Lola Run and the collected works of Spain's Pedro Almodovar, the most recent of which is Volver.

Volver is engaging, interesting, different (to these American eyes, anyway) and refreshing, though not tremendous at any point. There are almost no men in the cast, and while some men either seen or referred to happened to be "evil" or "bad," the film does not spend time doing much male-bashing. Though it deals with some pretty harsh themes (incest, rape, murder, etc), it is typically a light, airy movie. While not being a black comedy either, it's quite funny at times, regardless of the language/subtitles, with universal family themes the focal point of the comedy.

Penelope Cruz carries the film from start to finsh, though she has ample help along the way, from a bunch of actresses that most in America have never heard of (myself included): Carmen Maura, Lola Duenas and Blanca Portillo being the main assistants.

80 out of 100

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