For Reel

Julieta (2016)
April 23, 2017, 3:05 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
4 Stars
JulietaOn the surface, Pedro Almodóvar and Alice Munro seem to have little in common other than the prevalence of strong female characters in their body of work. It is true that, while Munro focuses on more subtle longings and is generally a more unassuming storyteller, Almodóvar’s flamboyance is relevant to both his dealings with emotions and the production design—if his characters are not immune to restraint, he takes a particular delight in their grandiose expressions. Each artist, however, is determined by the sense of empathy that they have for their characters and that the characters have for each other, as well as how that empathy can be discovered as a result of changing circumstances over time—see, for example, a scene in which a young Julieta regrets abandoning a train passenger she feels threatened by due to the way his story later unfolds. Almodóvar is seduced by the mystery of the encounter and the way it causes a mania in Julieta, just as Munro has a tendency to dramatize certain moments that reverberate throughout our lives. The most touching moment in Julieta occurs near the end of the film in which one character finds a new understanding for someone they previously resented, and it is in those moments where the film is at its most beautiful—that is, empathy grows over time, and as we accumulate knowledge and life experience, it becomes easier to forgive.

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