Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Movie Review: "Julieta" (2016)

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Director: Pedro Almodovar
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

A woman looks back on her life and the choices and events that got her to where she is today.

"Julieta" is written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar and is based on short stories from the book "Runaway" by Alice Munrow. It stars Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte, who both play the titular Julieta at different stages in her life. Julieta is preparing to move from Madrid to Portugal with her boyfriend, but when she runs into an old friend of her daughter's, Julieta abruptly changes her plans without explanation. She moves back into her old apartment complex and writes out a journal-style letter to her daughter explaining her life from the age 25 on.

This film does an incredible job showing how decisions made in one moment without any forethought can have huge impacts on a person's life. Julieta has plenty of those moments at a rather young age and they affect her all the way until she is an older woman. You can see the singular incident that started it all and how this one event created a completely new path for her from that point forward. There are many of these moments throughout the film as this one incident winds up having such a greater impact on her overall life than she could have ever imagined, becoming the catalyst for not just life, but love, death, tragedy, happiness, and pain. In that very moment, as is the case with most of us living in the present, we don't think about how the people we meet, the actions we do, or the interactions we have will impact us down the line.

Both Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte do impeccable, wonderful jobs in their dual portrayal of the curious but ultimately damaged Julieta. Ugarte plays the character in her younger years, starting out young and hopeful and gradually descends into a deep depression and a series of painful events. Suárez, as a more mature woman who has a lifetime of regrets to look back upon, is faced with a life changing moment and channels the eccentricities, the pain, the sorrow, and the anger of Julieta in her older years. Pedro Almodóvar does a brilliant job in bringing this character to life in an honest manner, creating a compelling and very human story that is completely engaging and loaded with some really breathtaking visuals. He sure knows how to frame a shot, and his heartfelt but sorrowful story shines through these stunning visuals.

Though not as crazy and daring as some of Pedro Almodóvar's other directorial efforts, "Julieta" is certainly a film worth seeing for fans of honest character driven stories full of excellent acting and many emotionally moving scenes.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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