Pain and Glory

Pain and Glory (Pedro Almodóvar, 2019) wr. Pedro Almodóvar; Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, Asier Etxeandia; release 4 October

The main character of Pain and Glory, a film director, is in decline in his career. He looks involuntarily back into the past, and a stream of vivid memories is awakened. He recalls such moments from his youth as tender feelings for his mother, love and separation, the search for happiness and success.

I loved the ending. It's a meta-filmic moment, tho most viewers won't pay much attention to that aspect. The two actors from the retrospective sequence of the film - the director's mother and the child who will become the director himself - are revealed in a pullback to be on a film set: the director is actually making as a film the story that he has been recalling throughout the frame film. It's quite outrageous to use the same actors, as it breaks the cinematic illusion in two ways - but, as I say, most people will just get the emotional message (Oh good! he's working again) and not think too much about Penélope Cruz being in two different universes.

I find it a lovely film: tender and moving. However, it is very much about the film director (such as the one who wrote and shot the story) so may not have universal appeal.

Anonymous director and Academy voter, quoted by IndieWire: [re Best Actor] "Antonio Banderas. He is amazing. It’s one of the few times the Academy has nominated a quiet subtle performance. He never raises his voice, but he is quietly heartbreaking and funny. That scene alone, when he meets his old gay lover who has married two women and had kids! He won’t win, it’s not the night. But what a great performance. I am happy to see him in the mix."

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 5 February, 2020 | Now: 1 March, 2024