Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
The Perfect Night In
Great Movies From Warner Bros.
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save up to 63%
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Carmen Maura
Antonio Banderas
Julieta Serrano.
Directors
Pedro Almodovar.
Screenwriters
Pedro Almodovar.
Running Time
89 minutes

LATEST DVD REVIEWS
Big Game
2 Star Empire Rating
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
4 Star Empire Rating
Spooks: The Greater Good
3 Star Empire Rating
Age of Adaline, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Mississippi Burning
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
My Darling Clementine
5 Star Empire Rating
Third Man, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Monty Python’s Life Of Brian [steel book]
5 Star Empire Rating
Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Goodfellas
5 Star Empire Rating

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown


submit to reddit


Plot
Having just discovered that she's pregnant, voice-over actress Pepa Marcos is dumped by her womanising lover Iván, whose disturbed wife Lucia sets out to exact revenge on Pepa, just as her son Carlos his fiancée Marisa arrive to view Pepa's apartment.


Review

Pedro Almodóvar's first mainstream hit was loosely based on Jean Cocteau's 1930 play, La Voix Humaine, although it also borrowed liberally from the works of Spanish dramatists Mihura and Jardiel Poncela, from Dorothy Parker's `Anything Goes' essays, and from such Hollywood genre pictures as Jean Negulesco's How to Marry a Millionaire, Stanley Donen's Funny Face and Billy Wilder's The Apartment.
 
       However, traces of George Cukor, Douglas Sirk, Nicholas Ray and Alfred Hitchcock are also readily evident in this gleeful melee of attitudes and styles whose audacity and vibrancy owes as much to a lingering sense of post-Franco exhilaration as to the `couldn't care less' posture of the pasota  generation that had informed Almodóvar's earlier features, including his debut, Pepi, Luci, Bom And The Other Girls, which had been completed largely thanks to Carmen Maura.
 
       But for all its playful postmodernism, this is also a satirical treatise on the crisis of Spanish masculinity in the late 1980s. One of the main reasons why these women have been driven to the verge is that virtually every male character is portrayed as weak. Iván is ageing and inconstant; Carlos is ineffectual; the cabby (Guillermo Montesinos) is dependable, but camp; and Candela's boyfriend is a crazed Shiite terrorist.
 
       But, in keeping with the classic woman's picture format, the female characters are surprisingly strong. Pepa, for example, is linked throughout with Joan Crawford - whom she dubs in a scene from Johnny Guitar - and although she's initially distraught at the prospect of having a child alone, she eventually takes control of her own desires and destiny.
 
          Photographed in riotous colours by Jose Luis Alcaine, this is very much an ensemble farce. But Maura is superb as the resilient Pepa, whose accidental emancipation causes as much chaos as her drugged gazpacho. Almodóvar also excels, whether parodying TV commercials or sustaining the frantic pace and his £700,000 movie went on to gross over £3.5 million worldwide.

 


Extras

Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
Released: 01 July 2002
Dubbed or subtitled options.


Verdict
An explosion of garish colour, wacky detail and surreal complications, Almodovar’s very funny, urban comedy overflows with the unexpected. See it!


Reviewed by David Parkinson

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Wes Craven: Film By Film
Empire celebrates the late, great horror director

My Movie Life: Andrew Haigh
The 45 Years director on the movies that made him

Vanity Projects: The Musical Edition
A dozen more hits and misses from the rock and pop world

Inside The Martian: Empire Meets NASA
Prepare to science the shit out of it...

Deadpool: A Complete History
Empire's guide to The Merc With A Mouth, in comics and on screen

Spectre – Everything You Need To Know
Empire's essential briefing on James Bond's 24th outing

The N.W.A-Team
Empire visits the set of Straight Outta Compton

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)