Penelope Cruz is Oscar bound for her role in ‘Parallel Mothers’

Synopsis: The story of two mothers who give birth the same day.
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Stars: Penelope Cruz, Milena Smit, Israel Elejalde

I like Pedro Almodovar. How can you not? He is arguably the most internationally acclaimed Spanish filmmaker. His films are brilliant. Last year, one of the biggest Academy Award snubs was his short film The Human Voice starring Tilda Swinton; it was so well done.

His new film, Parallel Mothers, is another strong addition to his filmography. The Spanish-language film is another reminder that the best films aren’t all in English. Penelope Cruz plays Janis. Janis is a photographer, and she is pregnant. We also meet Ana (Milena Smit) who is in her late teens and expecting too. The two women find themselves sharing a hospital room as they are both set to deliver. They are both on their own and form a bond during this process.

After the birth of their children, they go their separate ways, but Janis begins to notice something isn’t quite right with her daughter. The father of the child senses something is off as well, and Janis decides to investigate.

There are so many interesting layers to this film, and the subplots reinforce what a great filmmaker Almodovar is. As I watched the movie, I couldn’t help but respect what a force Cruz is—she may be underrated, but she shouldn’t be. Cruz gives herself in this performance, which stands out from many I have seen.

Smit is also very strong in this role. I wasn’t familiar with her work, but I felt she did a fantastic job holding her own scene for scene with a proven acting heavyweight.

These two incredible actors do a wonderful job with their emotions on screen and evoke the same from the audience.

While some directors have been criticized for how they depict female characters and, quite frankly women on screen, cough . . . Lars Von Trier . . . cough . . . this can’t be said about Pedro Almodovar. His work portrays a man who respects women, and his collaborations with Cruz keep getting better and better. Cruz won the Best Actress prize at the Venice Film Festival for her role in Parallel Mothers and is rightfully nominated for an Oscar for this role.

Parallel Mothers is a hidden gem of a movie and definitely worth watching.

Grade: B+

Watch the movie trailer: