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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

Carmen Maura , Antonio Banderas , Pedro Almodóvar  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059H9F
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,717 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" on IMDb

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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
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Pepa is having a crisis. Her lover is leaving her and now her doctor tells her she is pregnant. Her best friend may be wanted by the police for her association with a Shiite terrorist. And now her lover's psychotic wife is knocking at the door. Can she catch up with her lover, protect her friend, arrange a new romance for her lover's son, dodge the police, and disarm her lover's wife in time to foil an international terrorist plot? Well... maybe after she serves her guests some gazpacho.
In any other hands WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN would collapse into mere frantic farce, but Almodovar directs Carmen Marua and an ensemble cast to a brilliant series of plausible performances that allows the viewer to buy into the story, improbabilities and all--and the result is a hilarious, touching, and fascinating film that is considerably more than the sum of its parts. This is certainly comedy at its most sophistocated, splashed with social satire and spangled with a touch of symbolism for those inclined to seek it.
A number of motifs run through the film--recorded voices, telephones, and the color red are but a few examples--but Almodovar doesn't force his audience to deconstruct his film in order to enjoy it, and WOMEN ON THE VERGE is easily one of the funniest European films of the past fifty years. Those who expect farce plain and simple or who like their movies to tie up into a neat package by the time the credits roll may be disappointed--but if you can make a leap of faith and meet the film on its own terms you'll find it sly, witty, often laugh-out-loud funny... and it will leave you with a feel-good afterglow too. Strongly, strongly recommended.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passionately Comical June 27, 2003
Format:DVD
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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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Screwball Comedy is Not Dead November 7, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
This is a day in the life of Pepa, voice-over artist. She dubs foreign films into her native Spanish, and sometimes provides the voice for actresses in Spanish films who for whatever reason don't speak their own lines (this is common practice in many European film industries).
As though Pepa's day weren't bad enough, because her lover Ivan has just broken up with her, and she's found out she's pregnant by him, people keep entering her life with strange demands on this day.
First is her friend Candela, who is running from her Arab muslim boyfriend; he has turned out to be a shiite terrorist. After that, many new people pop up when least expected, each a little closer to a nervous breakdown than the last. And each, it would seen, more determined to push Pepa over the edge, but she somehow keeps her cool, and makes it through the day.
Pepa is the one person in this film who seems to have the "right" to completely breakdown, and yet she is the sanest
one here.
This is screwball comedy (plus sex) just like Leo McCarey and Ernst Lubitsch used to make. I congratulate Almadovar on capturing this tenor. Recent American attempts to revive this style have usually digressed into tar pits of lame yet gross sex jokes, or played like two hour sit-coms. This film is quick and light, and none of the actors ever step outside their characters to say to the audience "Look at me! I'm being funny!" which is the scourge of this type of film.
I laugh myself to tears watching this film; I quite literally fell out of my seat once. And this is with repeated viewings.
I love this film.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
WATCH THIS FILM AND LEARN TO APPRECIATE THIS KIND OF HUMOR, WHILE YOU STILL CAN... This film is one of the most funniest films, I have ever seen. Even if you watch it dozen of times, it is still funny, because [while dialogue itself is hilarious] the most fun comes from the faces and body language of the actors/characters. Statistically, this film is the most popular Spanish film in North America, so far. It is definitely the most popular and well-known of Almodovar's films.
I don't want to give away the plot. Besides, the plot is too crazy to explain... You just have to see it. I'll just say that you will see:
Banderas as a stuttering, young man in glasses [beautiful, just as well...], who is totally under control of his impossibly ugly fiancee [very gifted comedian actress, but the way].
Young girl, trying to commit suicide, by sliding off the penthouse balcony.
Young virgin, having an erotic dream and, subsequently, "losing her virginity" in a dream, after being heavily drugged.
Also, coming to the screen near you: crazy mother, strange taxi-driver, unlucky terrorists, wacky neighbors, sloppy policemen, and one over-sexed womanizer, who gets what he deserves, but not quite....
All in all, it is a total mad-house, created in a very beautiful Spanish penthouse, by a series of unfortunate circumstances.
After watching this film, I thought to myself, that Shakespearean comedies have finally found their independent counter-part in the 20th cenruty's cinema.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
Almodvr makes me laugh out loud. This is the first movie that I saw Antonio Banderas in, and now he is famous in the United States also.
Published 14 days ago by Malu
5.0 out of 5 stars Still works for humor and finesse
Almodovar os a well known Spanish director. This film from the early 90's got a lot of attention in the US when it first came out. Read more
Published 3 months ago by CRM
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 8 months ago by C. Bellios
5.0 out of 5 stars Leave it to Almodovar...
Pedro Almodovar is one of those directors who has such a vivid sense of self in all of his features, and a rabid fan base that appreciates everything he touches. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Andrew Ellington
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 9 months ago by L. Mowrey
5.0 out of 5 stars Tears and absurdity
Definitely a movie for women, whether on the verge of a nervous breakdown or not. I can watch it over and over, because the humor is so over the top yet the pathos is real. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Eugenia Parrish
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a blast after watching it a couple of times
I have watched this movie more than once years ago, and this week we had some friends over and we decided to watch it once again. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Sebastian Fernandez
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fabulous
Perhaps my favorite of all of the Almodóvar's movies. The characters, as crazy as they may look and behave, are real and at the end one falls liking them a lot. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Kindle Lector
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!!
I saw this movie years ago. Great comedic story.. keeps you thoroughly occupied to the end! I bought this movie for my mother... I know she will enjoy it... (with subtitles)
Published 16 months ago by MikeSpike828
1.0 out of 5 stars Was I watching the right movie??
I just can't believe the glowing reviews and the funniest foreign film of the last 50 years? Wow I guess I didn't get it
Published 20 months ago by mother superior
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