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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown(Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios)

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Spain · 1988
Rated R · 1h 28m
Director Pedro Almodóvar
Starring Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano, María Barranco
Genre Comedy, Drama

Television actress Pepa encounters a variety of eccentric characters after embarking on a journey to discover why her lover abruptly left her. Blending melodrama with classic screwball farce, this Academy-Award winning black comedy was Spanish director Pedro Almodavar's international breakthrough.

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The pace sometimes flags, and there are scenes in which the comic potential appears to be lost only because the camera is in the wrong place. Farce isn't easy to pull off, but Mr. Almodovar is well on his way to mastering this most difficult of all screen genres.


Empire by David Parkinson

An explosion of garish colour, wacky detail and surreal complications, Almodovar’s very funny, urban comedy overflows with the unexpected. See it!


Christian Science Monitor by David Sterritt

There's some sexually tinged humor and a bit of foul language, but most of the action is lightheaded fun. The picture also has a striking visual style - showing what a strong talent Almod'ovar can be when he focuses his energy on cinematic values, instead of dreaming up provocative stunts that put his work beyond the pale for many moviegoers.


Boston Globe by Jay Carr

The women here aren't afraid to get extreme about love, but in the end, you sense that they are too sound to destroy themselves over the worthless man they have allowed to personify it. That's what lifts Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown from the amusing to the sublime. [23 Dec 1988, p.23]


Chicago Reader by Jonathan Rosenbaum

The results are high-spirited, with nice ensemble work from Almodovar's team of regulars, but the playlike structure (originally derived from Cocteau's The Human Voice but drastically reworked) is disappointingly conventional.


Los Angeles Times by Kevin Thomas

The smiles don't fade until the finish of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown when we witness Pepa's realization that she has, in fact, come into her own and taken charge of her own destiny. [20 Dec 1988, p.1]


Chicago Tribune by Michael Wilmington

With Maura delivering an explosive performance, Almodovar presents Pepa's tale with real gusto--with vibrant colors, gaudy personality, mad jokes and a sexiness that erupts off the screen.

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