Pedro Almodóvar’s sixteenth film is not only a wonderful supernatural tragicomedy, it is both a paean to and celebration of women and in particular his lead actress Penélope Cruz.
Set in Madrid and La Mancha, ‘Volver’ (Spanish for ‘return’) sees three generations of women survive wind, fire and even death itself, thanks to goodness, audacity and a limitless vitality. Inspired by a story Almodóvar heard in La Mancha during the making of ‘The Flower of My Secret’ (1995) – which features as a short film-within-the-film – it tells the story of a wife and mother struggling to survive in an abusive marriage and the turn of events that unfold when an unexpected visitor arrives from beyond the grave.
Seamlessly moving between genres and featuring sublime performances, not just by Cruz but also Lola Dueñas and Carmen Maura (appearing in an Almodóvar for the first time since ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’), this is one of the filmmaker’s most beloved features.
“Volver seemed guilelessly wonderful when I first saw it in Cannes. Now it looks even better.” - ★★★★★ Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
★★★★ “A mature and beautifully told tale of family and the ghosts that haunt us.” - Helen O’Hara, Empire