Volver [DVD] 
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Director Pedro Almodovar's acclaimed supernatural-themed comedy starring Penelope Cruz. Cruz plays a Madrid mother and housewife of a drunk husband. She and her hairdressing sister are orphans by dint of a house fire back home in rural LaMancha. When their sole surviving relative there - their mum's sister - passes on, her past habit of talking to the girls' mother as if she were still on the mortal plane takes on a new and chilling significance.
Spanish for "coming back," Volver is a return to the all-female format of All About My Mother. Unlike Pedro Almodóvar's previous two pictures, the story revolves around a group of women in Madrid and his native La Mancha. (The cast received a collective best actress award at Cannes.) Raimunda (a zaftig Penélope Cruz) is the engine powering this heartfelt, yet humorous vehicle. When husband Paco (Antonio de la Torre) is murdered, Raimunda makes like Mildred Pierce to deflect attention away from daughter Paula (Yohana Cobo). After telling everyone the lout has left, she struggles to conceal his body. The other women in her life all have secrets of their own. Her sister, Sole (Lola Dueñas), for instance, has taken in their mother, Irene (a sprightly Carmen Maura). Since Irene perished in a fire, is this person a ghost or simply a woman who looks like her? Then there's their childhood friend, Agustina (Blanca Portillo), who is desperate to find out why her mother disappeared after the blaze. Was she responsible? Almodóvar deftly blends the ghost story with the murder mystery in his tribute to the Italian neo-realist films of the 1950s. The resilient Raimunda is a throwback to the earthy heroines of Sophia Loren and Anna Magnani. The latter appears in Luchino Visconti's Bellissima, which shows up on Sole's television one night (thus confirming the link). If Almodóvars 16th feature lacks the emotional punch of the more audacious Talk to Her, it's less heavy-handed than Bad Education and Cruz is a revelation. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Top Customer Reviews
Meaning 'The Return' Volver begins in the village of Alcanfor de las Infantas; a superstitious place, where it is said that the East Wind drives many inhabitants insane. Raimunda (Cruz), her daughter and her sister Soledad have come to visit the grave of their mother who was killed in a fire with her husband. Whilst there they visit their aunt Paula who, a little senile and through milk-bottle glasses, tells them that their mother is alive and living with her. Back home in Madrid, Raimunda comes home from work one day to find her daughter looking disturbed. She has stabbed the man she thought to be her father after he drunkenly tried to rape her. Whilst she deals with this Raimunda is called by her sister to be told their aunt has died. It is when returning from the funeral on her own that Soledad hears the voice of her mother calling her from the boot of the car.
The performances are all exceptional (the six actresses shared the Best Actress award at Cannes in 2006) but Cruz really shines in her role. When her drunken husband masturbates beside her in bed, after she has shrugged off his advances, we see her look of surprise, disgust and sadness as a tear wells in her eye. Later in the film she sings the song Volver to a restaurant filled by a film crew wrap party and whilst she may only be lip syncing her performance had me doubting.
Almodovar has said that the film 'is precisely about death...Read more ›
All the performances are excellent and very naturalistic. Naturalistic for Southern Spain that is and Penélope Cruz is simply incredible. I had never really rated her as a great dramatic actress. The only other time she had impressed me was in a small part as a Mother giving birth on a bus in another Almodóvar Film. She proved to me she could be extraordinary. So I am left with the question why she never received the award for best actress at the Oscars. It only goes to show what a travesty that Award has become.
Pedro Almodóvar is one of the best Directors alive today and that list includes only three names. The other two are Yimou Zhang and Takashi Miike. These three Directors are international. Cutting edge! They are not trapped by their Nationality or by the Hollywood system. They make intelligent films for intelligent people unlike what Hollywood is constantly spewing out into those charmless multiplex factories.
"Volver" should have won the best picture award at the Oscars. Not best foreign film but Best Picture because, to put it simply, it is perfect. The Score, the acting, direction, production design, sound design, the opening credits, the final credits and most importantly the script. They are all perfect.
There is in Southern Spain an extraordinary wealth of Spanish "palabrotas" (swear words and rude phrases) and to really enjoy them a street knowledge of Spanish is recomended.
A Spanish Dictionary is of no use.Read more ›
In "Volver" we have the extraordinary character of Raimunda played to the hilt by Penelope Cruz who has always been better in her native Spanish than she's ever been in her English films. Raimunda is strong, decisive, hard-working, married to a lout, a devoted mother and sister of Soledad (Lola Duenas) with whom she shares a strong bond now that their parents are dead.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Had to buy this as my copy had been lent out and lost.. Never again!
A wonderful film, gripping, gritty, funny, sad, scary..it's got the lot, even songs! Read more
I like this film. It's got Penelope Cruz in it and some other fine actors/actresses.Published 11 days ago by Bobby Shambolic
present. arrived fast, good price and packaging. assuming it works on mom's DVD playerPublished 3 months ago by Luke Cull
My favourite of his films. As often, Almodovar has a trouple of women, significantly and quietly caring for the grave of their mother in La Mancha, [co? Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mr. G. Morgan
As another set of stunningly designed credits roll on Pedro Almodovar’s 2006 masterpiece I was left with the lingering question of whether or not any other film-maker has done more... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Keith M
Very enjoyable film. I won't spoil it by giving away any details of the plot but it is witty and clever, and Almadovar makes us accept or consider things we would find disturbing... Read morePublished 4 months ago by toastie lover
Pedro Almodóvar’s 16th feature Volver (2006), the last of a series of six masterful melodramas which start with The Flower of My Secret (1995), is quite simply a wonderful... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Film Buff
POSSIBLE SPOILERS - only read if you have seen the film!
There is a moment in Volver where a character starts digging the earth with a pickaxe, and you see it up close:... Read more