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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

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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 Home Entertainment
  • 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: #167,064 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

Students of Spanish just love it.
D. L. Paulson
The camera technique here is flawless: with quick cutting and constant movement we feel Maura's anxiety.
Watching this movie will make any woman feel quite sane.
Rebecca of Amazon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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 By D. Pawl VINE VOICE on 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 By Luis Hernandez on 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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