No retrospective of director Pedro Almodóvar would be complete without the provocative film Talk to Her—considered by many as one of the finest films of the 2000s. Like much of Almodóvar’s filmography, Talk to Her boasts numerous accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. An understated approach for the director—or as understated as an Almodóvar film can be—Talk to Her delves into the dynamic of love and unrequited infatuation.
After an encounter at a local performance of Café Müller, male nurse Benigno Martín (Javier Cámara) and travel writer Marco Zuluaga (Darío Grandinetti) find their lives remarkably paralleled when they meet again in the same hospital ward. Benigno, infatuated with the young dancer Alicia Roncero (Leonor Watling), becomes the girl’s nurse after she falls comatose and serendipitously comes into his care.
Meanwhile, Marco’s budding relationship with the famous matador Lydia González (Rosario Flores) is cut short after she’s gored by a bull and becomes brain dead. The two men quickly transition from strangers to friends, even through the shocking discovery about one of the patients that draws them apart.
“What Talk to Her does is insist in its very particular way on the importance of emotion, connection and love, no matter how obsessive a form they may take […] it views deeply disturbed, even deviant behavior from an almost unimaginably empathetic space. And it does so in a way that is more thoughtful and genuinely reflective than we’ve had from this filmmaker before.” — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Almodóvar has a way of evoking sincere responses from material which, if it were revolved only slightly, would present a face of sheer irony. Talk to Her combines improbable melodrama (gored bullfighters, comatose ballerinas) with subtly kinky bedside vigils and sensational denouements, and yet at the end, we are undeniably touched.” — Roger Ebert, RogerEbert.com
“[Talk to Her] is calmer and less floridly extravagant, less wired than many of [Almodóvar’s] previous films. Yet every frame bears his signature: the theatricality, the mischievously effective suspense, the adventures in identity and sexuality. It’s the most unmistakable auteur flourish in modern European cinema.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian