FILM REVIEW: Talk To Her (Pedro Almodovar, 2002).
Originally titled, Hable Con Ella, I am currently studying this film for my A2 Film Studies exam and felt that reviewing it would help gather clear thoughts on the film in terms of 'empowered women in world cinema', and be used as a revision technique.
When first watching the film I got the impression that I should have been bored from the start, but I actually got really interested almost instantly, with the character of Benigno definitely intriguing to me from the start, and finding Lydia empowering one minute, then disempowered the next, I just wanted to keep watching to try and make sense of the film.
It's definitely a good film to use as a counter argument for Empowered Women in my exam, but there is some points that could be used supporting empowerment; Lydia's multi faceted lifestyle and personality, being portrayed as a beautiful, popular woman, who also takes on a typically masculine role as a bullfighter makes her extremely enigmatic and empowered. However, spoiler alert, when she let's the bull put her into a coma purely for El Nino, I felt like her empowerment went straight out of the window. Earlier in the film El Nino's friend said "She'd let the bull tear her apart if it meant you'd see", and that's exactly what she did.
Benigno and Marco's friendship is so disempowering for the women on screen, as they both have full control of Alicia and Lydia and both, especially Benigno sexual and take advantage of the powerless women. The use of the friendship also results in a warmer feel for Benigno, as we associate ourselves with Marco and eventually start to feel sorry for Benigno before we take the time to real how twisted he actually is.
The cross cutting and non-chronological order of the film definitely makes it a more intriguing viewing experience, as you're not entirely sure of any character until you're pretty far into the film. Despite the dark themes in the storyline,the empowering references to Franco's era in Spain via the Opera and Alicia's fighting nature, with Lydia's powerful lifestyle, the women in the film can be seen as mostly empowered, except when they're given passive roles, which eventually do lead to them being empowered, most of the time. This film is definitely half and half in terms of empowered women, and I can see why some people didn't enjoy it, but personally I did.