Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

Original Title

Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios


Comedy, Drama


Pedro Almodóvar




Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano, Rossy de Palma, Maria Barranco, Fernando Guillén, Kiti Manver, Ana Leza, Chus Lampreave, Loles Leon


As she tries to find out why Ivan (Fernando Guillén) left her, Pepa (Carmen Maura) has to confront Ivan's wife (Julieta Serrano) and son (Antonio Banderas) while helping her friend Candela (Rossy de Palma) who is afraid the police might be looking for her because of her boyfriend, a Shiite terrorist.


I loved all of Almodóvar's films I've seen so far. Some are disturbing, others are touching but they all have a thing in common, they have depth. That's what's missing in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. That doesn't prevent it from being a fantastic film though heavily influenced by Hollywood's screwball comedies.

The plot could have been better though. It's simple and yet it manages to be complicated and a little confusing and it seems taken straight out of a telenovela (soap opera). It does, however, take some unpredictable turns which make it a little bit more interesting, and the multiple storylines come together beautifully.  

The lack of an engaging plot isn't a real problem because the film is brought to life by some great characters and even greater performances from the cast. They make the story interesting and ultimately the film worth the time. Especially the central character of Pepa. Although it doesn't reach Almodóvar's usual level of depth, there's some good examination of the protagonist and her inner conflicts - although the surplus of characters kind of distract from this.

But that's the beauty of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown if you ask me. All those wonderfully developed and eccentric supporting characters make this film so good. 

And fun. Almodóvar knows comedy can be found everywhere, even in sad things like suicide, and he plays with it. Why even bother creating intentionally funny moments when you can have a group of characters interacting "normally" and make people laugh with it?


  1. I've seen a few of Almodovar's movies and all of them were fantastic. I need to check this one out.

  2. I do like his movies and have been meaning to see this one. love your review!

    1. Thank you! Watch it, I'm sure you'll like this one too.