- Julieta is Pedro Almodóvar’s twentieth (20th) feature. Julieta is based on a trio of stories by Alice Munro from her 2004 collection “Runaway”.
- Munro is Canadian and the stories are set in Canada. Apparently, the original screenplay was written in English and Meryl Streep was approached to star. However, Almodovar felt uncomfortable and made the change back to his native tongue and country.
- Julieta (Emma Suárez) is about to move with Lorenzo (Dario Grandinetti) and living out her seemingly normal life when a chance encounter on the street with her daughter’s childhood best friend triggers a change. Julieta drops everything to be where her daughter (who she had a mysterious break with) thinks Julieta still lives.
Letter writing flashback storytelling- young Julieta is played by Adriana Ugarte. Almodóvar composes a jaw-dropper of a symmetrical frame on the train at the 14-minute mark with this sort of burnt orange and white drapes and red seats. Julieta is across from a man who tries to interact with her. She feels unsafe with him and recoils—moments later this man commits suicide and Julieta blames herself.
- Young Julieta meets Xoan (Daniel Grao). Xoan’s wife is in a coma (at least one person seems to be in a coma in every Almodovar film- an auteur who leans into his genre (melodrama). Julieta teaches Greek tragedy and the entire film (in the confident hands of Almodovar as a storyteller) seems to be fated. The sea is angry and takes Xoan’s life (another male in this female centric story will be taken by the sea later). Julieta ages. She is worn down and mourning and in a great little slice of cinema there is a playful reveal (after washing with a towel and covering her face at the 64-minute mark) of the change of actors portraying Julieta (going from Ugarte to Suarez).
- Almodovar has been writing great stories for women, generations of women, and mothers/daughters for decades.
- Patricia Highsmith in text- thriller is the other genre Almodovar loves most along with melodrama.
- Artwork from Spanish artist Miquel Navarro used in the film.
Every character in Almodóvar’s world has impeccable taste in fashion and art.
At the 82-minute mark Almodóvar’s camera tracks backwards creating a frame within the camera frame (by the hallway that was not part of the composition to begin the shot) as the older Julieta finishes her epic letter (the prolonged flashback) to her daughter.
Blue and white shell tiles with a big window overlooking the sea at the 50-minute mark
- Almodóvar’s trademark use of vibrant color (especially red here). Almodovar seems to care about every painted wall in every room and every piece of clothing his characters wears in each of his twenty films. Glorious “oppressive” (from the text) wallpaper in the Madrid apartment for Julieta.
- Like the use of comas (Almodóvar’s works are often elevated soap operas), he loves a good generation-spanning chance meeting (often between estranged family).
- Almodóvar’s first film in shot on digital- he has some open complaints about the color https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/12/05/the-evolution-of-pedro-almodovar
- Recommend / Highly Recommend border