Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman Revealed
The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
Guardians Of The Galaxy Review
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Promotion: Destiny Awaits
Win a limited edition PS4 and a copy of Destiny
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
Quiller Memorandum, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Victim
3 Star Empire Rating
Ipcress File, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Jules Et Jim
5 Star Empire Rating
Unforgiven
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Ipcress File, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Jules Et Jim
5 Star Empire Rating
Nashville
5 Star Empire Rating
Hustler, The
5 Star Empire Rating
French Connection, The
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.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Michel Gondry Talks Mood Indigo
Gondry on Bjork, erections and Mark Ruffalo in his pants

Everything You Need To Know About The Dragonriders Of Pern
The lowdown on Warner Bros. new fantasy sci-fi

A Pocket Guide To Game Of Thrones’ New Cast Members
Know your Doran Martell from your Nym Sand

Empire's The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Covers Are Here
Bard The Bowman or Smaug The Magnificent?

Directors Special: Peter Hyams Goes Film-By-Film
The veteran director on Timecop, Outland, 2010, Enemies Closer and more

The 10 Biggest Stories Of Comic-Con 2014
The shocks to emerge from this year's geek-fest. Avengers! Max! Mann!

Models Inc.: The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
How the likes of Batman, Superman and Luke Skywalker become collectible figures

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)