• All About My Mother is Pedro Almodóvar’s thirteenth (13th) film and certainly one of his best to this point in his career- the creative juices are undoubtedly still flowing.
  • The title and large chunks of the narrative are from 1950’s All About Eve.

At the 8-minute mark, Manuela (Cecilia Roth) is in red standing in front of a poster mural draped in red with the face of Huma Rojo (Marisa Paredes). This is a magnificent frame- if a little reminiscent of Kieslowski’s shot of Irene Jacob in Three Colours: Red (1994).

  • If this is All About Eve– Roth plays the standby and fascinated by celebrity Anne Baxter role (with a unique twist here of course)- while Paredes plays the Bette Davis role. Huma is as tough as Bette Davis- even says she wanted to be like her in the text. Almodovar even dedicates the film to Davis (along with Gena Rowlands and Romy Schneider).

The play the characters are performing is “A Streetcar Named Desire”- a great visual production of it with the deep blue background 

  • Few auteurs in cinema history (George Cukor, von Sternberg, maybe Woody Allen, or von Trier) have created roles for women as well as Almodovar. His stories often involve mothers, often complex relationships between sisters, or more often friends that are both women. There are five good roles here for female actors in All About My Mother. There is a strong scene of four of the women just having cava and ice cream and laughing. There is a red lampshade, a sofa- one of Almodóvar’s trademark sofa shots—and bottles and glasses in the foreground.

At the 25-minute mark at Agrado’s (Antonia San Juan) house- the green and red lighting fixtures are used in the foreground.

  • The name “Lola” is frequent in cinema history- a sign of Almodóvar’s unabashed love of the artform.
  • The narrative is a wonder- a densely packed 101 minutes. The past is circling back around- spanning years.
  • The use of voice over from beyond the grave- a writer’s flourish (Sunset Boulevard) that Almodovar had to love.

Wild and vibrant wallpaper in the new Barcelona apartment of Manuela—beautiful stained-glass windows. This is the writing of Wilder with the visual ambition of Sirk.

  • The story is asking for quite a suspension of disbelief to see Manuela just suddenly involved in the life of Huma and Hermana (Penelope Cruz). But this is melodrama- albeit a marvelous melodrama- it is woven together in its own eccentric way.
  • Like The Flower of My Secret there are scenes of role play acting going on practicing for organ donation situations- just strange that of the thousands of films out there the two films with organ donation role play acting coaching are from Almodovar in the 1990s.
  • Roth’s work here earns a spot as one of best actors of 1999 (or throughout Almodóvar’s oeuvre)—there is a powerful scene where she tells Huma about the death of her own son.
  • Highly Recommend / Must-See border