'Julieta' is straightforward by Almodovar standards

'Julieta' stars Emma Suárez, who may have discovered the whereabouts of her long-lost daughter. The movie is directed by Pedro Almodóvar.

Courtesy of Manolo Pavón/Sony Pictures Classics
'Julieta' stars Inma Cuesta (l.) and Adriana Ugarte (r.).

Pedro Almodóvar’s “Julieta” is designed in big, bright colors – red and blue, primarily. This is not one of Almodóvar’s antic frolics, nor is it one of his corrosively dark fantasias. Based on a trio of Alice Munro stories, it’s relatively straightforward, at least by Almodóvar’s standards. It’s about Julieta, played in middle age by Emma Suárez, who may have discovered the whereabouts of her long-lost daughter, Antia, now an adult, with whom she had a fraught relationship. Most of Julieta’s relationships, especially with men, including her ex-husband, have been fraught. She has taken it upon herself to be the one to blame. She has martyred herself, unfairly from what we can see, to her victimhood.

Almodóvar periodically inserts a series of flashback sequences involving the young Julieta (played by Adriana Ugarte), her child, and Julieta's abusive fisherman husband (Daniel Grao), and after a while, past and present create an alluring and sorrowful continuum. Almodóvar is attempting to create a continuum of genres as well, one that particularly involves the traditional Hollywood “women’s picture” and film noir. That he doesn’t altogether succeed is perhaps due to the fact that Almodóvar is too enraptured by old movie conventions to give them a new life. Grade: B (Rated R for some sexuality/nudity.)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to 'Julieta' is straightforward by Almodovar standards
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Movies/2016/1230/Julieta-is-straightforward-by-Almodovar-standards
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe