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aka - ?Que He Hecho Yo Para Merecer Esto!!
Spain 1985
Directed by
Pedro Almodovar
100 minutes
Rated M

3.5 stars

What Have I Done to Deserve This?

This relatively early Almodóvar sees the director working with familiar themes such as illicit sex, drug use, and bad TV but with the effrontery to mainstream propriety toned down and a palpable empathy for the life for Spain's urban working class it was the most accessible and internationally successful of his films prior to his 1988 breakthrough, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Almodóvar regular Carmen Maura plays Gloria, a sexually frustrated Madrid housewife who lives in a huge apartment block abutting a motorway with her indifferent taxi-driving husband (Ángel de Andrés López), sons Toni and Miguel (Juan Martínez and Miguel Ángel Herranz), and her mother-in-law (another Almodóvar regular Chus Lampreave). To make ends meets Gloria works multiple jobs as a cleaner and is addicted to No-Doze, her eldest son deal drugs, her youngest sells his body and her husband sits around expecting her to wait on him, Her mother-in-law who wants to return to her village drives her crazy and her only consolation is her friendship with a ditzy sex-worker (yet another Almodóvar regular, Verónica Forqué) who lives in the neighbouring apartment. Hence the film’s title

Almodóvar’s inventive script manages to mix all this with a story about a failed novelist (Gonzalo Suárez) trying to persuade Gloria's husband to forge his literary inventions in Hitler's handwriting, but his real interest and empathy is with the beleagured Gloria, and by implication, innumerable women like her, something which in hindsight, an appetite for dysfunctional behaviour and an absurdist sense of humour aside, is the director’s strongest suit.




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