• From the pulled back curtain reveal of the title credits, to the film’s fitting conclusion, Talk to Her is a standout effort- even when considering the rich oeuvre of Pedro Almodovar. The unveiled curtains reveal two strangers sitting next to each other in a theater watching opera. This Strangers on a Train (Almodóvar is a Hitchcock acolyte after all) setup includes Marco (Dario Grandinetti) and Benigno (Javier Camara).

Talk to Her opens in a theater and ends in a theater

  • This is Almodóvar’s fourteenth (14th) film. This is his single greatest stretch of work- spanning from All About My Mother (1999) to Talk to Her (2002) to Bad Education (2004).
  • Talk to Her won the 2002 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Almodovar’s complete and utter confidence is on display during Talk to Her– the viewer knows they are in good hands.
  • Almodovar breaks up the action with titles of the characters involved in that chapter of the film- like “Lydia and Marco”. Lydia is played by Rosario Flores who often seems like the main protagonist for the first half of the film before dropping out with a brutal sudden death (Psycho). There are some gorgeous slow motion lyrical shots of Lydia in the bull fighting arena. She has a stunning maroon uniform with gold tassels and at the 23-minute mark she is surrounded by these sumptuous red curtain.

There are some gorgeous slow motion lyrical shots of Lydia in the bull fighting arena

  • This is an extraordinary character study- Marco’s sensitivity is set up at the opening as he cries during the opera (Benigno does not cry), Marco he cries again when he kills a snake. This prompts a flashback within his own dream (so a bit of nesting doll effect- but Almodovar hands it deftly). The Spanish auteur jumps around often– “Four Years Earlier” is a title. The particulars of each relationship and character are specific even as it spans many years.
  • “Cucurrucucú Paloma” is a lovely song (which makes for a lovely scene) performed by Caetano Veloso.
  • Almodóvar’s genre is melodrama- and he embraces the trappings of the genre as his characters often go into comas. An unhealthy desire/obsession is often as the forefront as well in Almodóvar’s worlds. A mother complex also usually rears its ugly head.
  • Geraldine Chaplin is here in a small role

Almodovar take a big swing formally with the silent film “Shrinking Lover” within the larger film. Alicia loved silent films. This is both bizarre and inventive. There is nudity, rape (again for Almodovar- just about every film).

  • Benigno is monomaniacally focused on Alicia.

At the 69-minute mark the two women on a coma wearing sunglasses.

At the 89-minute mark Almodovar captures a great frame as the two men’s faces are reflecting off each other in the mirror in prison- creating a natural dissolve. Benigno is in blue, Marco is in red- they are two sides of a coin in terms of love and obsessions. Marco even rents Benigno’s apartment and takes over parts of Benigno’s former life.

  • The film has a perfect formal bookend as Almodóvar closes Talk to Her in a theater—this time it is Marco and Alicia—full circle. The overwhelming feeling at the film’s close is a sign of good storytelling.
  • A Must-See film