Director Pedro Almodovar’s beautifully crafted and exquisitely acted
Parallel Mathers stars Penelope Cruz, in her eighth film for Almodovar, as
Janis, a Spanish photographer who, whilst photographing the site of a
suspect mass grave where the remains of those murdered during the Spanish
Civil War, including her own great-grandfather, might lie, falls for the
married archaeologist responsible for the dig.
As things tend to do in dramas Janis finds herself pregnant and alone and
it’s during the birth of her baby, in a maternity hospital, that she meets
another single mother, teenager Ana (Milena Smit).
After leaving the hospital, whilst Ana bonds with her child Janis has the
opposite feelings and starts to doubt the parentage of her child who
appears to have absolutely nothing in common looks wise with her. The
plot, which I won’t give anymore away for fear of spoiling the story, becomes more implausible, in
terms of some of Janis’s decisions, the longer the story progresses.
Parallel Mothers does at times feel like two separate films as Almodovar,
with limited success, tries to mesh the story of the Spanish Civil War, or
at least how it has effected the countries current generation, with the
relationship between the two women.
Parallel Mothers in terms of the storyline is nothing special, what is
special is the performances of Cruz and Smit who together manage to lift
Parallel Mothers above the ordinary.