The Pedro Almodóvar retrospective at The Frida Cinema continues with Volver, a decorated love letter to the director’s childhood in Spain and a warm homecoming for fans of his early work.
Raimunda (Penélope Cruz), a hard-working wife and mother, lives in suburban Madrid with her husband Paco and daughter Paula. After a familial altercation results in Paco’s murder, Raimunda must handle the disposal of his body along with supporting her sister Sole (Lola Dueñas), running a restuarant and the grieving after the death of their beloved Aunt Paula (Chus Lampreave). A family tree cloaked in mystery and tragedy, Raimunda’s mother, Irene (Carmen Maura), who died in a fire along with her father years before, is believed to be spotted in town.
Despite dark themes as death, murder, incest, and rape, Volver is a spirited slice-of-life with a distinctive feminine presence. Penélope Cruz gives a wonderfully honest performance in the lead role which earned her an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress.
“Volver is often dazzling in its artifice — José Luis Alcaine’s ripe cinematography, Alberto Iglesias’s suave, heart-tugging score — but it is never false. It draws you in, invites you to linger and makes you eager to return. It offers something better than realism.” — A.O. Scott, New York Times
“Almodóvar has cast himself as the chronicler of the Spanish soul, and in Volver he deftly weaves the old Spain with the new.” — Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times
“Ripe with female characters and embroidered with flourishes that hint at Hollywood’s Golden Age, Volver is one of Almodóvar’s finest films. It is also one of his most emotionally delightful.” — Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post