Julieta Screen 82 of 31 reviews

Julieta

2016

Julieta Poster
  • The movie is entirely self-sufficient; you don't have to have read Munro to get the picture, or to revel in the movie's brilliant colors and full-heartedly florid storytelling. But for those who love both Munro and Almodovar, there's meat here in the relative pleasures of reading and watching. Munro writes stark prose in blues and greys; Almodovar pumps up the volume with breathy dialogue, bathing his beleaguered women in brilliant vermilions and electric blues.

  • “Julieta,” Almodóvar’s 20th feature and his best, in my view, since “Volver” a decade ago, is a film of such quietly assured mastery that it reminds you American cinema today has virtually no one comparable to him: an artist who exercises total control over his work, employs a filmic idiom derived largely from the lushest productions of classic Hollywood, and operates in a fictional realm of his own creation.

  • The refusal of novelty in “Julieta,” far from being a narrative deficiency, actually suits a story whose true subject is the persistence of repetition — the inevitably recurring patterns of joy, grief and generational misfortune that Almodóvar, a practiced geometrician of loss and desire, points out with characteristic wit and feeling.

  • Both a film noir and a candy-colored confection, Pedro Almodóvar's Julieta is one of the most absorbing films he's made in years. It's also, perhaps, one of the saddest: Its bright hues and vivid textures offset a deep, unshakable melancholy... While Almodóvar may move his characters around like a god (or at least a moralist), his attention to detail and his fondness for unexpected bits of tenderness give these people shape and dimension and keep the narrative from becoming schematic.

  • It’s hard to argue with the results here: Julieta finds Almodóvar working at his peak, confident in the cinematic syntax and legacy that precedes him.

  • The results are a bit on the self-help therapy side of things, but it’s uncommonly insightful about how relationships, even those forged by blood, are like an addiction. And Almodovar is an assured enough filmmaker to make it work both in the moment — including a beautiful mid-film bit where Ugarte effectively passes the torch to Suarez — and as long con storytelling.

  • Julieta is high in the running for the most grounded, least outlandish film Almodóvar has ever put his name on... Almodóvar's presentation of Julieta—which incorporates comas, deaths, and melodramatic revelations of its own—is uncommonly subdued. What it lacks in novelty, it makes up in soul: the biggest surprise is just how much it is unmistakably an older man’s film, attuned to memory, to wistfulness, to regret, and to the gaps between different generations’ perceptions of the world.

  • It’s all about guilt, passed from husband to wife and mistress and then to daughter and even daughter’s pal, with the obligatory recriminations and tearful confessions. The plot is continually surprising, yet every scene snicks into place. Neat parallels among couples develop quietly, and tiny hints planted in the beginning pay off. As usual with Almodóvar, the opening credits guarantee that you’re in assured hands. They also tease us with motifs.

  • It works off a grand canvas without sacrificing intimacy or insight. To speak of this film as a slight entry in Almodóvar’s filmography would betray his genius; he is the rare filmmaker who can explicate upon a woman’s grief without exploiting it. In Julieta, Almodovar toys with this thematic occupation, but he does so with unfamiliar faces. And Ugarte and Suárez have coaxed a more observant filmmaker out of him, giving his filmmaking a needed jolt of energy.

  • ++

    Film Comment: Carlos Reveigiero
    September 03, 2016 | September/October 2016 Issue (p. 52)

    It's a film that works against the grain of the director's career. With his 20th feature in 36 years, he has probably found the perfect way to be Almodóvar without indulging in Almodóvarian excess. It's a bold, even spiritual variation on his work. He says it's "pure drama without the melo."

  • The miracle of Julieta is that it feels as loose and multiple, yet at the same time very tight and unified. Among the film’s themes are the complexity and seeming diffuseness of a person’s life, and the hidden patterns created by the interaction of contingency and memory; as an academic specialising in Greek myth, Julieta is a highly qualified reader of the ‘novel’ of her existence.

  • “Time is a thief” is a theme that connects the Talk to Her director and the Canadian author Munro, and Julieta is nothing if not a structure of what's gone missing, in which a flash-forward to a protagonist wracked by guilt and grief delivers a stealthily incisive emotional payload. Only then do the micro jumps in time, until that moment serving Julieta merely as narrative expedients, are revealed to be what they really are: a thousand tiny, unhealed cuts.

  • In a more serious, sombre register than much of Almodóvar’s work, it may not have the emotional punch one might expect of material dealing so directly with loss, grief and guilt, but there remain plenty of pleasures to be had from the performances, characteristically polished cinematography, design and music, and the sure sense of period and place.

  • A profound and moving study of family, guilt, and growing old, Pedro Almodóvar’s 20th feature—and one of his best recent films—is a spectacular new Competition entry.

  • Mothers, daughters, ghosts, disease, estrangement, artists, comas, Rossy de Palma… On paper, it could only be more Almodóvar if it were filmed on scarlet satin. And yet with Julieta the director seems refreshed, in a mode of quiet contemplation and happy to be back toiling with human sensitivity at near-impolite close quarters. At its simplest, it’s a film about how we deal with the unreadability of others, who themselves can undergo abrupt changes of heart.

  • Julieta is a sad, grieving counterpart to the brazen antics of Tie Me Up, Tie Me Dwn. Mistakes are made and the stakes are high, but life is long, he says, and hope remains, even as Julieta plays out to the rusty tones of Almodovar’s favourite chanteuse, Chavela Vargas, singing the Cuco Sanchez 1957 classic – Si Non Te Vas. Almodovar himself is still a similarly unique, distinctive voice, growing in texture and depth with each new production.

  • A subtle force of nature, elementally connected with its lead character and her battle to regain personal and familial balance. Each moment builds upon the last, every inch of the frame representing an important clue. One sculpture becomes a recurring motif, created with a sturdy base by its artist “so the wind can’t knock it over.” Indeed, Julieta often finds endurance and resilience from the relics of her past.

  • The movie sometimes feels a tad pokey... Only in the film’s final minutes does it start to retroactively coalesce into a sneaky study of crippling guilt, which it seems to argue can be passed down genetically. Does this tactic qualify as a bait and switch? Perhaps. If the result satisfies, however—and Julieta’s inconclusive but deeply moving ending packs an unexpected wallop—nobody’s likely to complain.

  • One of the year's surprises. Almodóvar is a director with whom I've never had any serious problem, but it's been a long time since he made anything for which I felt I could offer a full-throated endorsement. There are several key elements at work here, but it seems that the binding agent is Alice Munro, whose short fiction Pedro adapted into his most sensitive, well-constructed script since Volver ten years ago.

  • Almodóvar’s steady hand guides us expertly through her story, teasing us just enough with the mystery of Antía’s disappearance while creating compositions of such Sirkian beauty that there’s a perverse pleasure even in witnessing Julieta’s pain. If you’re looking for a pitch-perfect, emotionally devastating interpretation of a Munro story, find Sarah Polley’s brilliant Away From Her. In the meantime, you could do worse than Almodóvar’s unlikely amalgamation.

  • Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film about the dynamical changes and tumultuous events in one woman’s life opens with a frame that reintroduces us to the director’s signature style. A close-up shot of a draping piece of deep red silk, moving slowly but freely, as though breathing against the lens of the camera, offers a sensual backdrop for the theatrical introduction of the film’s title, which fades softly onto the screen: Julieta. From the outset, Almodóvar confidently makes his mark.

  • Beautifully shot, with a bold showcasing of primary colours, Almodóvar’s latest offering is about the uncovering of familial trauma, when a mother’s chance encounter with a childhood friend of her daughter turns her life upside down. And yet, Julieta’s part playful Hitchcockian mystery, part harrowing familial drama is intriguing rather than great.

  • While the dramatic arc’s velocity often stalls in the front half, Julieta accrues some real emotional heft as it explores a parent-child dynamic with no happy parties and no easy solution. The film is, I suppose, half-recommended.

  • It works on you, slowly... The moments Julieta selects from her past for scrutiny betray a reliance on magical thinking to make sense of what is inherently senseless, to impose causality on events that would otherwise seem random: the suicide of a stranger on a train or the coinciding of marital turmoil and bad weather. Let Julieta sit with you a while: it makes up in long-term resonance what it lacks in immediate closure.

  • The first part of the film, with Ugarte as a 1980s New Wave Julieta during her grad-student days, is mysterious, colorful, and exciting. The Suárez sections, while typically stylish, are at odds with the usual Almodóvarian melodrama and drain the film of emotion until it abruptly ends before the moment of reconciliation.

  • Something as simple as a vibrant textile pattern, reappearing later in the story in a significant swath of wallpaper, therefore assumes a huge amount of dramatic weight, silently articulating the anguish contained beneath these glamorous façades and beautiful faces. Yet Almodóvar's object-oriented approach, while breezily dynamic and effective at communicating the broad outlines of Julieta's struggles, ends up blocking off the deeper emotional access that Munro's stories so effortlessly attain.

  • Despite a magnificent use of colour (especially in a lengthy scene in a train carriage, the site of Julieta’s first encounter with Xoan) and a deft control of mise en scène, Julieta is, in the final analysis, nought but a cinematic trifle from an auteur who is capable of much more spectacular things.

  • Uncharacteristically for Almodovar, Julieta has a distancing dryness—not even the picture’s wildly colorful production design (including crazily frosted birthday cakes and a few walls’ worth of eye-popping patterned wallpaper) can inject much life into it.

  • Despite a characteristically flashy production design from regular collaborator Antxón Gómez, and despite dialogue spoken in plummy whispers, the mood is defined by the low-key suffering of its leading lady. The result is a surprisingly flat offering from Spain’s most vibrant auteur, who is cherished for his skills at evoking the absurd humour of tragedy.

  • Almodovar's 20th feature shows hints of his elegant and surprising filmmaking without ever realizing its potential... "Julieta" offers a fine pair of performances from Emma Suarez and Adriana Ugarte as the titular woman in two stages of her troubled life. But its unassuming approach doesn't give them a whole lot to do in this surprisingly conventional movie, a surface-deep variation on thematic terrain that Almodovar has probed with far better results before.

  • The most compelling moments in each film [Julieta and Personal Shopper] turn out to be the bedrock of [Almodóvar and Assayas' respective] decades-old styles: the bold, colorful compositions and framings that Almodóvar has long mastered, which sketch psychological detail more acutely than Julieta's methodically orchestrated and rather sluggish story.

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