Julieta (Almodóvar, 2016)

Every Pedro Almodóvar film title should be said in a seductive whisper, especially Julieta (hoooo-leeee-etta). Our protagonist’s name is said so many times that naming the film anything else would have been a mistake (and, for a time, the working title was different). All jokes aside, though, I thought this was a strong entry in Almodóvar’s oeuvre, and half the praise should probably go to the Alice Munro stories that served as the plot’s basis. There’s a pinch of passion, a glint of happiness, and a gulf of grief when one of the characters dies tragically and another goes AWOL, leaving Julieta to battle a hard bout of depression. It’s at this crucial moment that the first actress, Adriana Ugarte, passes the torch to Emma Suárez, and it’s done so subtly and beautifully that it made me love the film all the more.

However, having seen some of Almodóvar’s more famous works, I don’t think Julieta has the same punch to it as the others do, and I can’t deny that I felt emotionally underwhelmed when it ended—perhaps because the resolution occurs quickly and doesn’t have time to breathe. Yet when I look back on the experience, I really do admire the care and attention Almodóvar put into this, as well as the fantastic acting from the two leads (especially Suárez, whose face is nigh-unforgettable). He continues to be a leading figure in telling women’s stories, and pulls this one off with just enough majesty to keep you in its sway.