Talk to Her (2002)

I've been meaning to watch Pedro Almodóvar's Talk to Her (Spanish: Hable con ella) for the longest time as I read a lot of great things about it. Unfortunately, it didn't meet my expectations. 

Benigno (Javier Cámara) is a nurse who has dedicated his past four years of life to his only patient, Alicia (Leonor Watling), a young and beautiful dancer in a coma as a result of an accident. Marco (Darío Grandinetti) is a journalist who is in love with Lydia (Rosario Flores), a female bullfighter who is also in a coma after being gored by a bull. The two men meet in the hospital and a friendship begins to develop.

The plot manages to be interesting and disappointing altogether. With a part of it set in the present and a part set in the past, Almodóvar skillfully plays with time and makes the story more interesting by using texts to indicate the period. What's fascinating about it is that he doesn't always indicate when we are seeing a flashback which makes the story more confusing and intriguing. Not to mention the surprising twists. And yet, it never fully engaged me and I found that the plot relies too much on contrived coincidences, especially on Benigno's story --I mean, the girl Benigno has a crush on has an accident, goes in a coma and is submitted to the hospital in which Benigno works? Come on, Pedro, you can do better than that.

That, however, it's that big of a deal since Talk to Her is all about its characters. They are very unusual as Almodóvar's protagonists are usually strong and striking female characters and this time around the protagonists are two men. Unfortunately, although Almodóvar put a lot of effort and time into developing the characters and getting us to know them, I never felt sympathy for any of them, which is something you are supposed to feel because of the way the characters are delivered to us.

Warner Sogefilms, Sony Pictures Classics
On the other hand, they are quite interesting as Almodóvar plays a little with gender roles. Lydia is a bullfighter which is associated with men as it is a traditionally masculine activity. Benigno is a nurse which is usually associated with women. Same goes with Marco who is very sensitive. At the same time, these characters have still those characteristics associated with their gender.

The cast does a good job, the standout easily being Javier Cámara. He is superb as Benigno as he portrays the character's sensitivity and neediness very well, not to mention how he manages to deliver some incredible things with a very straight face.

And yet, in spite of all that, Talk to Her didn't really work for me and only in part, it has something to do with the awful way animals were treated while making this film. Bulls were killed for real in this film.


  1. Wow, this is the first film of Almodovar that I saw and fell in love with. It is a different film in some ways in comparison to a lot of his other films since they often revolve around women in the lead roles. This one took me by surprise in how rich the filmmaking is and the sensitivity of the story. Sorry it didn't work for you.