Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
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
Grey Owl
1 Star Empire Rating
Glengarry Glen Ross
5 Star Empire Rating
Ghost In The Shell
4 Star Empire Rating
Child's Play
3 Star Empire Rating
Westworld
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Glengarry Glen Ross
5 Star Empire Rating
Goldfinger
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Ipcress File, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Jules Et Jim
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
The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

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  |  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)