Parallel Mothers

Date Shown

14th Dec 2022

Parallel Mothers is another wonderful film from our favourite Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. This marks the eighth reunion with Penelope Cruz and reaffirms their status as one of modern cinema’s great director-actor collaborations. Almodovar says of Cruz, ‘Penelope is a film actress and the camera loves her – the film actress needs to be photogenic. When she gets a grip on the character she’s incredible. She takes risks with me that she won’t take with other directors.’ No wonder she’s happy to work with him.
Penelope Cruz plays Janice, a heavily pregnant forty-something photographer, sharing a room with Ana, a teenager, in a Madrid maternity hospital. This different generation-intertwined storyline cleverly runs in parallel with Janice’s dealings with the legacy of the Spanish civil war on her family, particularly a part of history that has been kept out of sight; over 114,000 civilians killed by General Franco’s forces during the war, disappearing into unmarked mass graves all over the country. It is through the two women’s stories that Almodovar combines issues of life and death – the newborn babies, and Janice’s work in getting permission for a mass grave to be dug up in her home town – and the polarised position of the two Spains. Ana represents the new, continued amnesia, refusing to engage with history’s injustices, whilst older Janice is determined to call for the state to exhume the bodies so that they can be reburied with dignity and respect. These two parallel narratives of the women’s lives are so masterfully linked, by a director determined to draw attention to Spain’s unresolved relationship with its bloody 20th-century history, and that connection with the theme of the women’s unresolved issues. This clever, engaging film is Almodovar at his finest, confronting the injustices of Spain’s recent history at both a micro and macro level. One definitely not to be missed.

Audience Reactions


A: 23,  B: 04,  C: 02,  D: 0,  E: 0.

A: Complex moral and historical issues beautifully portrayed (A) Brilliant – and interesting (A) Really enjoyable – very moving. (A)
Honest, difficult, yet somehow positive. (A) Powerful! Wow!! Convoluted but wonderful!!(A)
Almodovar gets better and better and so does Penelope Cruz!(A) So interesting, not least about the long aftermath of the Spanish Civil War (A)
A beautiful film! (A) Brilliant – wonderful cinema and very powerful. (A) Amazing. Impressive editing (A)
Very clever and powerful – and great handbags! (A) Excellent, though a bit too neat/contrived. Enjoyed learning more about the war (A)
Great film (A) Fascinating correlation of DNA testing and the Spanish Civil War. (A) Wonderful film, beautiful story. Almodovar at his best. (A)
Funny and moving. Great editing that helped the story. Really human, and thoroughly enjoyable (A)

B: Intense and dramatic – 2 parallel stories rather disjointed for me (B)

C: C+ Great story, wonderfully shot (C)

IMDB details

Parallel Mothers | October 8, 2021 (Spain) 7.1


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Sobrina de Brígida
Nieta de difunto

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Countries: Spain, FranceLanguages: Spanish


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