Almodovar’s Julieta, adapted from a triptych of Alice Munroe short stories part of Runaway, is a lavishly filmed work suffused with memory, loss, melancholia, guilt and familial estrangement. And, though it did possess vibrant splashes and other distinctive stylistic elements, it was also surprisingly sombre and restrained vis-à-vis the flamboyant expressionism that the Spanish auteur is readily associated with. Julieta (Emma Suárez), a complex, middle-aged Madrid lady, cancels her plans to relocate with her boyfriend (Darío Grandinetti) upon a chance encounter that floods back memories of her estranged daughter Antia and her past rushes back into her present. She shifts to the apartment where she’d once resided with her daughter, and, as she reminisces while composing a letter with the hope of mending ties, we are taken back to her kaleidoscopic past through extended flashbacks – a young and dazzling Julieta (Adriana Ugarte), her expertise on Greek Mythology in memorable contrast to her leather skirts and blue stockings and shock of platinum blonde hair straight out of 80s punk, witnessing the suicide of a fellow passenger and then embarking on a passionate affair with another traveler Xoan (Daniel Grao), while on a train journey; their eventual marriage and the arrival of Antia in their lives; Julieta’s refusal to accept her lonely father’s intimacy to an immigrant maid; Xoan’s tragic death post disclosure of his casual long-standing affair with a friend; and the mysterious decision by her daughter to suddenly disappear from her life. The protagonist, in all her diverse shades, was magnificently portrayed by Suárez and Ugarte, as this deftly introspective and layered film tantalizingly infused elements of mystery and enigma in the otherwise engrossing relationship drama.
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Genre: Drama/Family Drama