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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

Carmen Maura , Antonio Banderas , Pedro Almodóvar  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano, Rossy de Palma, María Barranco
  • Directors: Pedro Almodóvar
  • Writers: Pedro Almodóvar
  • Producers: Pedro Almodóvar, Agustín Almodóvar, Antonio Llorens
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2001
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059H9F
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,021 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar created a fiery sensation with this nutty screwball comedy, about a slightly unbalanced actress in a desperate situation. "Women on the Verge..." was Almodovar's international breakthrough film, and is one of his best loved.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passionately Comical June 27, 2003
Watching this movie will make any woman feel quite sane. You just cannot imagine your life could get this out of control.

The opening scenes are dreamlike, colorful and only when you watch this for the second time do you fully understand the implications of all the movie making episodes and why Ivan is walking by woman after woman saying exactly what they want to hear.

In this movie, there are a number of women who are involved with a number of men they should be running from instead of pursuing them endlessly in the hopes of returned affection.

While I started watching this in English, you might also tend to agree it is best watched with the Castilian audio track and the subtitles of your choice.

This story really begins with Pepa (Carmen Maura) oversleeping and hearing the love of her life leave a message on her answering machine asking her to pack all his things in a suitcase because he is leaving on a trip. Pepa does what any sane woman would do and tosses out everything that reminds her of Ivan. Except it takes almost the entire movie for this to happen. We wonder how she would have reacted if she had not wanted to tell Ivan she was pregnant.

Candela (Maria Barranco) is one of her best friends she is trying to avoid so she can deal with her own heartbreak. Candela is running from the law and needs a safe place to escape to until she can figure out how to warn the world about a Shiite terrorist attack she found out about from her ex. Eventually Candela makes her way to Pepa's penthouse just as Pepa is flying out the door.

Each woman is vulnerable in various ways. Lucia deals with her rejection in violent ways, Pepa by looking for her boyfriend endlessly and Candela by trying to jump from the balcony of Pepa's penthouse.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars my introduction to the world of Pedro Almodovar...... August 18, 2007
Pedro Almodovar, an internationally and critically acclaimed Spanish director, takes eccentricity and neuroses to new heights in WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, one of his most well known films. Pepa (Carmen Maura), an actress, has just been left alone and pregnant by her lover. It turns out that this situation is only one of many problems that she encounters. Her friend, Candela (Maria Barranco) is having a crisis of her own. Then, there's the matter of the gazpacho that Pepa has prepared--spiked with thirty sleeping pills--but, I won't ruin that part of the story for you as to what prompts her to prepare such a sleep-inducing dish. The whole mood is comparable to a telenovela (Spanish language soap opera). The atmosphere is melodramatic (hence, the reason for the title), desperate and probes at the main character, her plight and whether she can hold herself together in the eye of so many simulataneous storms around her.

I'll be honest in saying that I didn't "get" this film when I first saw it. I can relate to viewers who didn't like it. Initially, when it had finished, I thought, "What was THAT?" Almodovar's writing style really seems very analytical and feels more like a clinical study of what heights someone will go when emotionally instable. It was hard for me to really feel connected to any of the characters, and the atmosphere felt more than a little like intersecting episodes in a serial. Yet, upon reflection, I can appreciate the depth, skillful artistic direction and beauty of the characters that we come to know. Carmen Maura is very convincing as one of the lead characters and she doesn't appear to be acting at all! What's more, this is probably the only film with (a very young) Antonio Banderas, where I actually WANTED to watch him because the story had substance, for once! I reccomend that you see this just so you can get a sense for yourself of the style of Almodovar and why his films leave audiences talking.....
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Classic in International Cinema April 11, 2001
Filmed in the style of the screwball comedies of the 1950's, Pedro Almodovar's classic, "Women on the Verge of the Nervous Breakdown," is widely seen as the Spanish director's greatest directorial effort ever, due to his witty script, wonderful use of colors and schemes, and his ability to capture the range of emotions women possess.
The story, which revolves around a jilted woman (Carmen Maura in her final film collaboration with Almodovar) in search of her lover (Fernando Guillen) might sound like a melodrama at first, however if you mix in a bit of zany subplot and an array of classic characters, and you got yourself a comedy classic.
Pepa (Maura) finds out that her longtime lover Ivan has left her for another woman. Pepa, who works with Ivan dubbing foreign films into Spanish, discovers that she is expecting a child, and must convey this important message to Ivan in hopes of convincing him to return.
In her search for Ivan, she discovers that Ivan's ex-wife Lucia (Julieta Serrano) has been released from the asylum that has taken care of her since her breakup with Ivan. She also discovers that Ivan has a son (Antonio Banderas) she never was told about, and due to a series of coincidental encounters, they encounter each other.
Pepa doesn't seem to be the only person having love problems. Her best friend Candela (Maria Barranco) has discovered that her Arab boyfriend and his friends are actually Shiite terrorists planning to hijack the next flight to Stockholm. Scared, confused, and out of her mind, Candela finds refuge in Pepa's penthouse, and along with Pepa, Carlos (Banderas), and Carlos' fiance (Rossie de Palma), the madcap hysteria that will overtake the later half of the film takes place.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly one of my favorite movies of all time!
Whenever I feel like my life is spinning out of control, I pull out this very believable tale of double-cross, chicanery, misguided love, and gazpacho to remind myself that I don't... Read more
Published 14 months ago by C. Bellios
1.0 out of 5 stars Disc was defective
The DVD will not play through the movie. It froze at the beginning of chap. 13. I tried it in 3 different players, same result.
Published 15 months ago by L. Mowrey
5.0 out of 5 stars Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Almodovar's first international hit, this kinetic, farcical romp mixes up absurd comic situations and bizarre, coincidental encounters between ex-lovers, jealous wives, Shiite... Read more
Published on July 10, 2007 by John Farr
4.0 out of 5 stars Thanks to Angelika for showing this Almodovar Movie!
I liked it and I miss this type of comedy.

The taxi driver was hilarious!
Published on September 28, 2006 by K. Ozdemir
5.0 out of 5 stars What's up with Almodovar's DVD releases???
This is a great movie....Why isn't it available on DVD in the US? There's a festival of Pedro's movies in the theaters around the country right now.... Read more
Published on August 22, 2006 by Tom Burkert
5.0 out of 5 stars Wildly funny
Love, sweet love, what some people will go through in the name of love! In this fleet-footed comedy a woman (played by Carmen Maura) learns that she is pregnant by her married... Read more
Published on December 4, 2005 by Bomojaz
4.0 out of 5 stars Very familiar Almodovar, but viewers who know modern Almodovar may be...
Watching Women on the Verge . . . reminded me of Hindi movies from the eighties; why? Because of the style, the dialogue, the whole way that the thing is filmed. Read more
Published on November 7, 2005 by mehndiartist
5.0 out of 5 stars A wacky and irreverent comedy!
Carmen Maura plays a popular Spanish actress driven to distraction when her lover leaves her for another woman. Read more
Published on October 18, 2005 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars From an Almodovar fan, "like a child with his new toy"
casually, while shopping, i found this DVD in a store... i remember i saw this movie once, a long time ago...the price was fine, a whole new movie for my eyes, i took it home... Read more
Published on January 22, 2004 by Gonzalo Tejias
5.0 out of 5 stars We can't help but stare
We cannot help but stare in awe as this movie unfolds in all its technicolor glory and darkly twisted wit.
Ms Maura's performance ranks up there with some of the best. Read more
Published on December 30, 2003 by Mario Lozada
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