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Unusually for Almodovar, the emphasis is on the two male characters, with the female leads spending much of the film as "objects" in a vegetative state. Dario Grandinetti plays Marco, a journalist who befriends Lydia (Rosario Flores), a female bullfighter. Following a goring in the ring, she lapses into a coma. At the clinic where she is kept on life support, Marco meets a somewhat effete male nurse, Benigno (Javier Camara) who lovingly tends to a ballet student, Alicia, also chronically comatose. They strike up a friendship, their respective stories emerging through flashbacks. Both, however, respond to their common fate in different ways. Marco is distraught at the loss of Lydia, whereas the dysfunctional Benigno is blissful, tending to Alicia, for whom he nourished an obsession prior to accident. Reduced to being a vegetable, she is fully, unresistingly, his.
It's a tribute to Almodovar that he is able to handle the outlandish, potentially appalling subject matter of Talk To Her with such finesse. Emotionally, it's often on a knife edge; there are moments when you don't know whether to laugh, gasp or sigh. But when ultimately you find yourself welling with tears of sympathy for an alleged rapist, you realise what a master filmmaker Almodovar is.
On the DVD: Talk To Her offers an excellent transfer of a visually handsome movie. Extras are a little disappointing--just trailers for Almodovar's more outlandish Live Flesh and All About My Mother. --David Stubbs