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All About My Mother

4.3 out of 5 stars 180 customer reviews

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(Jul 11, 2000)
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Editorial Reviews

After her son is killed in an accident, Manuela (Cecilia Roth) leaves Madrid for her old haunts in Barcelona. She reconnects with an old friend, a pre-op transsexual prostitute named La Agrado (Antonia San Juan), who introduces her to Rosa (Penélope Cruz), a young nun who turns out to be pregnant. Meanwhile, Manuela becomes a personal assistant for Huma Rojo (Marisa Paredes), an actress currently playing Blanche DuBois in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire. All About My Mother traces the delicate web of friendship and loss that binds these women together. The movie is dedicated to the actresses of the world, so it's not surprising that all the performances are superb. Roth in particular anchors All About My Mother with compassion and generosity. But fans of writer-director Pedro Almodóvar needn't fret--as always, Almodóvar's work undermines conventional notions of sexual identity and embraces all human possibilities with bright colors and melodramatic plotting. However, All About My Mother approaches its twists and turns with a broader emotional scope than most of Almodóvar's work; even the more extravagant aspects of the story are presented quietly, to allow the sadness of life to be as present as the irrepressible vitality of the characters. Almodóvar embraces pettiness, jealousy, and grief as much as kindness, courage, and outrageousness, and the movie is the richer for it. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • "An Intimate Conversation with Pedro Almodovar"
  • Making of

Product Details

  • Actors: Penelope Cruz, Marisa Peredes, Antonia San Juan, Candela Pena, Cecilia Roth
  • Directors: Pedro Almodovar
  • Producers: Claude Berri
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 11, 2000
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767847105
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,765 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "All About My Mother" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Luis Hernandez on July 19, 2000
Format: DVD
"Todo Sobre Mi Madre," or "All About My Mother," revolves around the life of an organ transplant coordinator, Manuela, who was briefly shown in one of Almodovar's most recent movie "The Flower of My Secret". After the death of her only child, Manuela sets off from Madrid to Barcelona to find both his father and the traveling troupe who performs "A Streetcar Named Desire," throughout Spain.
Argentinian actress Cecilia Roth is both excellent and convincing as Manuela. Her performance for an actress not from Spain is original, since most of Almodovar's leading startlets are Spaniards. Marisa Paredes as Huma, a fading starlet, reminded me of her performance in "High Heels," wher she played a similar character. However the two emerging standouts in this film are Antonia San Juan as Manuela's drag-queen friend (fact: although she looks like a man, San Juan is actually a woman) and the beautiful Penelope Cruz, who plays a HIV-positive pregnant nun (only Almodovar can bring us such characters). Cruz, who radiates natural beauty and style has become Spain hottest export to Hollywood since Antonio Banderas. Keep an eye out for her in the near future.
The visual arrangement of colors, patterns, and clothes brings the film so much beauty it is unbearable not to watch and adore it. Almodovar's camera illusions, especially watching a grieving Manuela run to her injured son, Esteban, after he is struck by a car (the camera looks like if the victim is watching his mother run in the rain) and the trick of watching Esteban write in his journal (we see his pencil move through a glass that is supposed to be his pad) is amazing. Only the pure genius that Almodovar is could have thought of this.
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Format: DVD
"All About My Mother" is simply divine. The story of a woman going in search of her ex-husband, also father of her son and meeting a group of neurotic women on the way only to act as a mother figure to all of them--is stunning.
Cecilia Roth's performance as the lead, Manuela, is driven, passionate, and raw. Penelope Cruz's troubled nun Rosa is young, sweet, and hopeful, even in the midst of complete despair. As Huma Rojo, Marisa Paredes gives a first-class performance as a Dramatic Diva whose love for her ruthless costar Nina (who is "hooked on junk") motivates all of her dying emotions. And Antonia San Juan offers both comic relief and some self-esteem lessons to us all as the lovable transvestite La Agrado. And Manuela's doomed son, Esteban (the performer's name escpaes me) gives a gut wrenching, beautiful portrayal of the dreamer inside of all us.
As for Almodovar's work--how visually stunning the cinematography is--obviously orchestrated to pull out every ounce of color, the dominant red and blue hues in the film set a tone of sadness, fury, passion, and distress.
By the end of this film, there is so much to be said in terms of its themes and references to such classic films/theatrical shows such as "All About Eve," an obvious sketch for the theatrical life in the show, and "A Streetcar Named Desire" is an outlet in many ways for all of the characters--but there are so many routes to take in analyzing this is full of love, hate, loss, motherhood, and friendship. Definitely recommended to all of you out there who have feelings.
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Format: VHS Tape
A director has reached the top of his profession when he is referred to by one name alone (Ex: Spielberg, Coppola, and Scorcesse). Pedro Almodovar has reached that point in his career and his latest film, All About My Mother, has secured his place among the greatest directors of his generation; not only in his native Spain but also all over the world.
A splendid cast headed by Argentinean actress Cecilia Roth, legendary Spanish actress Marissa Paredes and younger stars Penelope Cruz and Candela Peña turns this film into the meeting of two era's of the Spanish cinema.
Manuela, a single young mother (Cecilia Roth) loses her son to an auto accident after seeing a production of A Street Car Named Desire starring Huma Rojo (Marissa Paredes) on his birthday.
Destroyed by the death of her son, Manuela travels from Madrid to Barcelona to find the boy's father and tell him that when she left him nearly two decades before she was pregnant with his child who was now dead.
Upon arriving in Barcelona, Manuela accidentally reunites with La Agrado (Antonia San Juan), a transsexual friend who she left behind when she fled from Barcelona so many years ago. La Agrado in turn introduces her to Sister Rosa (Penelope Cruz), a nun who becomes very close to Manuela. When Sister Rosa is taken ill it is Manuela who cares for her, and becomes somewhat her surrogate mother while still trying to deal with the loss of her own son.
While in Barcelona she goes to see A Streetcar Named Desire starring Huma Rojo, the actress who had left her son so impressed when they saw it Madrid.
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