Fascinating movie

‘Parallel Mothers’: Robin’s film review

Repeating his admiration for extremes, Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar borders on the limits of melodrama with his captivating film, Parallel mothers. Although some plot points seem torn from tabloid headlines, the filmmaker grounds his project by creating compelling characters who behave in unexpected yet reasonable ways.

Like the title Parallel mothers implies, the story centers on two women who share similar experiences. At decades of age, women face unexpected pregnancies and choose to have their babies, girls born on the same day in the same hospital. ‘Uh, oh, I see where this is leading,’ I thought to myself, but to my delight turned out only partially correct. Rather than following traditional soap opera histrionics, the characters take human steps that keep them in the realm of believable behavior.

That credibility also comes through acting, and Almodóvar once again leans on Penélope Cruz to balance the character she plays, a woman whose multiple interests include the need for truth. Embracing the truth often feels like hugging a porcupine, forcing Cruz to display a range of emotions, a proven skill in her case. Cruz seems at home in the world of Almodóvar, toned down by the garish colors and extravaganzas of my favorite collab, To return to.

Amidst a restrained palette of forest greens and burgundies Parallel mothers, Cruz spends time in the kitchen for skillful deeds, including making a classic potato omelet that almost got me on a plane to Spain. Instead, I sat back and enjoyed watching the basic ingredients turn into a visually beautiful piece with substance and style – that describes both the omelet and the movie.

Parallel mothers opened in Reno theaters on January 28.

Robin Holabird is a KUNR entertainment critic, author, and former film commissioner for the Nevada Film Office. You can explore his review archive here.