Talk To Her

"Good"

Talk To Her Review


Spanish auteur Pedro Amoldóvar has a special talent for making eccentrics feel accessible. His films are always populated, at least in part, by unusual characters (transvestites, bondage freaks, pregnant nuns) who are so fully developed as characters -- and as human beings -- that they seem no stranger than your next door neighbor.

In "Talk To Her," the director's central weirdo an awkward, obsessive, socially incongruous male nurse with a stalker's crush on a comatose patient. His name is Benigno (Javier Camara) and his intensely sheltered life of caring for his fake-invalid mother has not only compelled him toward this kind of imaginary, one-sided "relationship," it was also the catalyst for his obsession in the first place.

Benigno lived with his mother across the street from a dance studio where he first became dumbstruck by Alicia (Leonor Watling), watching her through the windows before a hit-and-run accident left her hospitalized and effectively brain-dead. Having taken correspondence courses in nursing to better care for the old woman -- who had since died and left him alone in the apartment from which he rarely ventured -- Benigno convinced the girl's father to hire him as her private nurse.

Now he spends six days a week at Alicia's bedside -- talking to her, bathing her, washing and combing her hair -- and spends his nights sleeping with a picture of her expressionless face beside his bed.

Camara's superb performance hints at something naggingly disconcerting inside the outwardly benign Benigno, with his awkward body language (his walk is one of unnecessarily short-strided shuffling) and distracted gaze (he lingers on thoughts and gestures as if he's seeking answers in a foggy mind). He gives the other nurses the creeps, but only insomuch as they consider him a maladjusted ninny in denial about his homosexuality.

In fact, Benigno's only friend is Marco (Dario Grandinetti), a travel writer who is the strong, sensitive, self-aware opposite of Benigno in every way except one: his famous bullfighter girlfriend (Rosario Flores) is in a coma at the same hospital, after being gored.

For Marco, his predicament is a devastating drain on his heart and his sanity. For Benigno, whose sanity is already in question, it's the only way he can have Alicia. She had met him twice before her accident and found him more than a little creepy when he made an appointment with her father, a shrink, just to be close to her, then sneaked into their apartment -- something her father wasn't aware of before hiring him as Alicia's nurse.

Amoldóvar, who won an Oscar for 1999's "All About My Mother") is a master of emotional texture, peeling away layer upon layer of the feelings these two men suffer for the women they love (or think they love) until he reaches Benigno's troubled psyche and Marco's benevolent soul. When Benigno's fantasy turns amorally impulsive, it is only that soul which allows Marco to try to save his friend, turning dire, shocking and eventually miraculous events into transformations of spirit.

Parts of "Talk to Her" may be difficult to digest for those who would not rise to Marco's level of altruism in the same situation (and I'm one of them). But Grandinetti's heart-on-sleeve portrayal makes good sense of his compassion and under Almodóvar's transcendent direction, the picture is compelling even in its most provocative and most esoteric moments -- save one. During the pivotal scene in which the story takes a turn for the discomfiting, the director tries too hard to keep the bombshell event from weighing the movie down with ugly reality by deploying a curious silent film sequence, eschewing reality for Benigno's considerably misshapen point of view.

However, Almodóvar's eloquence and emotional veracity create such a complete sensory experience -- even in this notably askew scene but especially in the men's flashbacks reflecting on the women's lives -- that "Talk to Her" draws you deeply into the characters' hearts whether you like them or not. The director's distinctive visual signature of robust, mood-creating colors and simple, elegant editing lend the film a piquancy that helps makes every sentiment not only tangible, but almost viscerally vivid.



Talk To Her

Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th March 2002

Box Office Worldwide: $51M

Budget: $9.3M

Distributed by: Docurama

Production compaines: El Deseo S.A., Antena 3 Televisión, Good Machine, Vía Digital, Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Alicia, as Lydia, as Benigno, as Marco, as Rosa, as Katerina Bilova, Pina Bausch as Bailarine, Malou Airaudo as Bailarine, Caetano Veloso as Singer at Party, as Doctor, as Ángela, as Matilde, as Niño de Valencia, as Lydia's Sister, as Concierge, Helio Pedregal as Alicia's Father, as Amparo, as Alfredo

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.