All About My Mother (1999)

Original Title

Todo sobre mi madre




Pedro Almodóvar




Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Antonia San Juan, Penélope Cruz, Candela Peña, Rosa Maria Sardà, Fernando Fernán Gómez, Eloy Azorín, Toni Cantó, Sapic


After her son Esteban (Eloy Azorín) is stuck and killed by a motorist, Manuela (Cecilia Roth) decides to return to Barcelona to tell the boy's transgender father Lola (Toni Cantó) about the death of the son he never knew he had. He is nowhere to be found but Manuela does find an old friend, Agrado (Antonia San Juan) and meets up with a pregnant nun, Rosa (Penélope Cruz). Together they form a life and become fast friends - until tragedy strikes again.


"To all actresses who have played actresses. To all women who act. To men who act and become women. To all the people who want to be mothers. To my mother." These are the last words in Pedro Almodóvar's film and they are enough to make the film worth watching.

Anyway, I'm here to review the film not the dedication, so there you go. "All About My Mother" is an absorbing, beautiful, and emotional study of women and a stunning hymn to life.

It can be said that this film represents the turning point in Almodóvar's cinema as it goes from the violent tones of his earlier films to the subtle, deep and intimate tones of human nature and relationships.

As seen in "Volver", the female universe is seen with adoration by the Spanish director who tells a story of women, harsh and full of hope at the same time. To do this, he makes use of the story of Manuela, a woman torn apart by the death of her only son and who seems destined to an empty, purposeless life, but eventually rises from the ashes thanks to a series of chance encounters that lead her to rediscover the beauty of life, motherly love and real friendship.

With this masterpiece, Almodóvar makes us cry, laugh, teaches us to live and to accept ourselves for who we are and accept the others for who they are, even when they are different, thus getting rid of all prejudices. Don't get me wrong, this is not a film about transgenders.

All this film has to say could have only been delivered by extraordinary actresses. Cecilia Roth is dazzling, heartbreaking and sensation as Manuela, the mourning mother, and the supporting cast isn't any worse. Penélope Cruz, Marisa Paredes and Antonia San Juan are great.

By all means, watch it!

"Well, as I was saying, it costs a lot to be authentic, ma'am. And one can't be stingy with these things because you are more authentic the more you resemble what you've dreamed of being." - Agrado


  1. This is a phenomenal movie. Almodovar has become a director I admire. I just think he's a brilliant filmmaker. If you haven't yet, check out The Skin I Live In, another great one from him.

    1. I also admire him a lot. He's one of my favourite European filmmakers. I haven't seen "The Skin I Live In" yet, but it's on my watchlist.