It might be familiar territory for Almodóvar, but only a master of his art could make it look so easy.
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
It's one thing to make a minor, accomplished work after focusing on grander statements, but Julieta mainly disappoints because it feels like the kind of straightforward, unadventurous drama that the filmmaker generally excels at reinventing through his own peculiar vision. This time, he plays it too safe.
Although the seams may show on a narrative level, and some may find it over-cooked, this is a luxurious slide into female neurosis.
If the resulting film, Julieta feels neither wholly Munro nor typically Almodovar in final execution, there is still a very compelling energy given out by the collision.
For all the glib élan on display, there is very little being said, above and beyond the slickness of a well-tuned melodrama. The plot always risks revealing its essential silliness and there isn't much wit or humour to alleviate the mood.
There is a decorousness at play here that adds an odd new flavor to the Almodovar repertoire, a politeness that’s quite unlike the lusty vulgarity of the past.
This is not as richly compelling as other Almodóvar films, but it’s a fluent and engaging work.
While Julieta represents a welcome return to the female-centric storytelling that has earned Almodovar his greatest acclaim, it is far from this reformed renegade’s strongest or most entertaining work.
Riffing on Spanish telenovelas, Hitchcock, and film noir, Almodóvar and his production team have put together a slight, but undeniably gorgeous bauble with a simple sort of story that nestles in somewhere between the high and lowbrow.
It’s one of his least crazy films in narrative terms, but you couldn’t call it subdued, because the colours and textures he’s coaxed from a new director of photography, Jean-Claude Larrieu, are even more intoxicating than ever – it’s like an unexpectedly dry martini in a dazzling Z-stem glass.