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Parallel Mothers(Madres paralelas)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Spain
·
2021

2h 3m

Director Pedro Almodóvar
Starring Penélope Cruz, Milena Smit, Israel Elejalde, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
Genre Drama
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Janis, a middle-aged career woman, and Ana, a budding adolescent, are both accidentally pregnant at the same time. Their lives intersect when they meet in a hospital room the day of their deliveries, and each woman's journey as a mother is marked by that chance meeting.

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WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?

Marina Dalarossa Profile picture for Marina Dalarossa

What seems on paper to be a telenovela-esque premise turns out to be a moving meditation on motherhood and family, with yet another superb performance by Penélope Cruz and a lovely score to ground it all. The historical aspect of the film was a surprise at first, but fits into the themes of history and family upon reflection.

Hannah Eliot Profile picture for Hannah Eliot

Films on motherhood are holy ground for Almódovar. They are a space in which he has honed his craft and produced some of his most touching work, which shows in the realism and depth of emotion in this film. Generally, it is also far more toned down and sober than most of his work. However, I still think it lacks the completeness of "Pain and Glory."

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

85

TheWrap by Ben Croll

Parallel Mothers often finds Almodóvar doing Almodóvar, leaning into all of his tics and obsession for this tale of two women whose lives become forever linked when they meet in a maternity ward.
90

The Hollywood Reporter by David Rooney

While Parallel Mothers doesn’t match the intricately interwoven layers of Almodóvar’s top-tier work — All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Pain and Glory — and some of its key plot disclosures can be seen coming, that doesn’t make the melodrama any less gripping or emotionally satisfying.
91

The Playlist by Jessica Kiang

In a world turned careful and considered (not by choice but by necessity) this extravagant, exuberant, magnificently messy movie, punch-drunk on story and delirious with drama, is the antidote to a cinematic lethargy you may not even have known you were feeling, until one of its legitimately insane plot pirouettes forcibly reminds you just how much dimension and chaos and vitality a flat beam of light projected onto a wall can contain.
80

Screen Daily by Lee Marshall

This comfortable armchair of great, old-school cinematic craft is made all the more embracing by Iglesias’s nuanced soundtrack. But we’re jolted out of that seat, and made to stand in admiration, as the film deftly weaves together two tales of removal – one maternal, the other political and historic.
90

Variety by Owen Gleiberman

It’s a film of cascading twists and turns, of thickening complication, of high family drama. Hearing that, you might imagine that it’s a movie of high comedy as well — a giddy and ironic Almodóvarian stew of maternal diva melodrama. But Parallel Mothers, while it keeps us hooked on what’s happening with a showman’s finesse, is not a comedy. It’s not an over-the-top Pedro party.c
80

The Telegraph by Robbie Collin

Even when Almodóvar plays on easy mode – and nothing about Parallel Mothers could be described as difficult – the results are irresistible.
90

Time by Stephanie Zacharek

Parallel Mothers is a movie of infinite tenderness, that rare ode to motherhood that acknowledges mothers as women first and mothers second.
80

The Guardian by Xan Brooks

Let nobody fault Almodóvar’s ambition here. If this finally lacks the polished sweep and completeness of Pain and Glory, his previous feature, it compensates with an air of fraught intimacy and throws out a wealth of ideas, leaving some tantalising loose ends to be picked up and examined.

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