Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

aka - Mujeres Al Borde De Un Ataque De Nervios
Spain 1988
Directed by
Pedro Almodovar
90 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown

The film with which Almodóvar broke free of his low-budget sub-cultural comedic fan base and into a more mainstream demographic is for once a commercial success story that does not come at the price of watering down the authorial sensibility. The director is still indulging his favorite transgressive obsessions but this film, unlike some of his earlier outings, is a quality production that deftly combines his now-familiar farcical antics, satirical purloining of TV soaps and classic Hollywood melodramas and love of kitsch décor with a convincing dramatic underpinning with which the audience can connect.

Visually beguiling both in terms of set design and Almodóvar’s staging, cleverly written (although not credited as such, it was based on a Jean Cocteau play 'La Voix Humaine', the voice being an important motif in the film's scenario) and well-acted by an ensemble cast, Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown is an outstanding example of the director’s off-beat flair.

Almodóvar’s regular leading lady, Carmen Maura, plays Pepa, strung-out by a collapsing relationship with a lothario and trying to track down him down as her world rapidly comes unstuck. In hindsight Antonio Banderas can be appreciated much more for his geeky Carlos whilst María Barranco is irresistible as Pepa’s air-headed friend, Candela.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst