REVIEW: JULIETA

a film about deep regret and crippling guilt. Cool...

 

Almodóvar is a very cool director, but unfortunately his latest movie Julieta is underwhelming. Overall, it works as a drama, but it's barely alive. 

Adapted from three short stories by Canadian author Alice Munro, the movie is about a depressed woman named Julieta who begins confronting her past - piecing together the events that led to the loss of her ex-husband Xoan, and her estrangement from their daughter Antia. For the majority of the running time, we are watching a letter that Julieta is writing to her long-lost daughter who she hasn’t seen in twelve years. She begins by telling the story of how she and Xoan met on a train and the steamy love affair that followed, which is kind-of funny because it’s supposed to be a letter written to her daughter, so…why would she go into so much detail about the hot sex? 

The first hour is a slow burn, but it is affecting at times and the characters feel like real people. I love a good family drama and Julieta eventually got its hooks in me, but at the same time it felt incomplete and completely devoid of levity. It’s a bummer to watch. Not what I expected from an Almodóvar movie, but to be fair I’ve seen more of his comedies than his dramas. The story is alright and things really pick up in the third act, when Julieta discovers that her daughter has joined a religious cult. 

I thought the movie lacked intensity. It needed screaming, shouting and maybe even a little violence - or at least break a vase or something. I don’t know, I can appreciate a good boring movie where nothing much happens (for example, I really enjoy the work of Kelly Reichardt - a director who makes great movies with very thin plots) but Julieta bored me. Disappointing right up until the end. A lot of critics love it, so it’ll probably win the Oscar for best foreign language film, but I think it’s overrated. 

6/10