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The Essentials: All About My Mother (1999)

Young Esteban wants to become a writer and also to discover the identity of his second mother, a trans woman, carefully concealed by his mother Manuela. (R, 101 min.)
Original title: Todo sobre mi madre

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Sunday, June 12, 2022

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Monday, June 13, 2022

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The Films Of Pedro Almodóvar: A Mini Retrospective
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Synopsis: This Oscar-winning melodrama, one of Pedro Almodóvar’s most beloved films, provides a dizzying, moving exploration of the meaning of motherhood. In an instant, nurse Manuela (Cecilia Roth) loses the teenage son she raised on her own. Grief-stricken, she sets out to search for the boy’s long-lost father in Barcelona, where she reawakens into a new maternal role, at the head of a surrogate family that includes a pregnant, HIV-positive nun (Penélope Cruz); an illustrious star of the stage (Marisa Paredes); and a transgender sex worker (Antonia San Juan). Beautifully performed and bursting with cinematic references, All About My Mother is a vibrant tribute to female fortitude, a one-of-a-kind family portrait, and a work of boundless compassion. [Criterion]

Starring: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Candela Peña, Penelope Cruz
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Genre: Drama

*CW
A thorough, spoiler-filled content guide can be found here.

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"An absolute must-see."

— Lou Lumenick, New York Post

"Nothing short of a triumph."

— Peter Brunette, Film.com

"A dedication to great women performers."

— Patrick Z. McGavin, Hollywood Reporter

"So intrinsically rich that it doesn't need any metaphors."

— Stephanie Zacharek, Salon

"It weaves life and art into a rich tapestry of love, loss and compassion."

— Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"This is humanism in drag: Almodovar's passionate redefinition of family values."

— David Ansen, Newsweek

"It's filled with marvelous performances, fabulous wit, and some dizzying images."

— Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle

"Brimming with bittersweet wit and emotion and built with deceptively fluent craft."

— Shawn Levy, Portland Oregonian

"An absolute stunner. A funny, touching and vital film marks a career peak for Almodóvar."

— Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"The most heartfelt tribute to women -- specifically, actresses -- he's (Almodovar) ever made."

— Kevin Maynard, Mr. Showbiz

"Few melodramas with such tragic underpinnings have ever made me feel so intensely happy."

— Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

"An emotionally satisfying and brilliantly played take on the ups and (mostly) downs of a group of less-than-typical female friends."

— Jonathan Holland, Variety

"Funny and wise, lively and contemplative, intriguingly postmodern and powerfully moving, all at the same time. It's not to be missed."

— Peter Brunette, Film.com

"Funny, provocative and deeply sympathetic in its wide embrace of women and those who would be women, All About My Mother is a beacon of a film."

— Susan Stark, Detroit News

"All About My Mother is one of the best films of the Spanish director, whose films present a Tennessee Williams sensibility in the visual style of a 1950s Universal-International tearjerker."

— Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Almodóvar's masterwork, is a spectacular synthesis of everything that has always interested him -- proud women, lovely boys, beautiful drag queens, grand movie stars, gorgeous frocks, wild wallpaper ."

— Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

"Just about everyone worth knowing in All About My Mother is female in spirit, which is to say they're all sexy, impossible, powerfully durable souls, quarrelsome and loyal, inventive at navigating the tragedies."

— Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly