Pain and Glory – Poetic

Rating (4 out of 5)

Summary: A fabulous, well written and well-acted bio-fiction movie summarizes “Pain and Glory”. “Pain and Glory” had the perfect balance of humor, drama, and tenderness. The movie was evenly paced, and the story enticed you to watch until the end. I would recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in stories of the people. How come we can’t get more of these remarkable films?

Plot: An aging Spanish director Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) manages through the pain of his body and soul by reflecting on his past.

Detail: The story flashes back to Salvador’s childhood often, and his mother Jacinta (Penélope Cruz). The family moves into a cave and later Salvador is sent to a seminary school all because the mother is trying to improve her son’s lot in life. Then they capture their relationship years in the future as he is a famous director in Madrid. Simply wonderful storytelling.

The director (Pedro Almodvar) constructs a story the mixes gracefully between the flashbacks and the challenges Salvador struggles within his current life. The overlapping of Salvador’s current heroin use to numb the pain of his body with the telling of his former lover’s story was impactful.

I particularly liked the strained relationship between Salvador and Albert Crespo (Asier Etxeandia). Albert had a hit movie with Salvador many years ago, and struggle with both heroin and being an irrelevant actor. To watch both of them to evolve notably was enjoyable.

My favorite scene was when Albert acted out on stage a story Salvador had written. It was a way to communicate a flashback, without flashing back. The scene also showed the recovery of Albert and introduced the audience to Salvador’s previous lover. I was immersed in the scene and the power of the story Albert was telling.

Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz are truly brilliant actors, but you have to watch their foreign films to witness their talent. They both deliver strong and memorable performances in “Pain and Glory”. I wish we could see their talent more in US-made films.