We see a middle-aged woman, Julieta (Emma Suarez) in an apartment packing up items into boxes. It’s evident that she is preparing to move soon. Her boyfriend, Lorenzo (Dario Grandinetti) shows up, and they discuss the big move from Madrid to Portugal. It’s very apparent that they are in love, and this move excites the both of them.
Julieta is happily walking the streets when her name is called out. A young woman comes up to her, and they begin telling each other about their lives. The young woman tells Julieta that she just saw Anita in Switzerland. Anita is doing well and has three beautiful kids. It’s obvious that Julieta is shocked by the news, but she puts up a brave face.
Julieta, now visually shaken comes home and immediately begins unpacking. She avoids her boyfriend’s calls and becomes under a dark cloud. When a concerned Lorenzo comes over, he notices that she has unpacked everything. Julieta tells him that it’s over, and she is not moving to Portugal, that she must remain in Madrid. Lorenzo sees that nothing will dissuade her, and he reluctantly leaves.
Julieta walks through the city, seemly searching in every crowd for Anita. She comes to an apartment building and talks with the super, who recognizes her immediately. Julieta asks if her old apartment is available. It isn’t but one below it is, and she asks to see it. Even though the apartment looks a little rundown, she immediately tells the super that she will take it. Why is this apartment building so important and just who is the mysterious Anita? Only Julieta knows, and we are hoping that she will give up her secrets.
Pedro Almodovar is a filmmaker whose work I either adore or dislike. I am never just lukewarm on how I feel about his films. I hated his last film, the weird airplane comedy I’m So Excited (2013) but absolutely loved the strange and creepy The Skin I Lived In (2011). I am happy to say that I am even more in love with Julieta than I was with The Skin I Lived In. Part drama, part mystery, Julieta is a movie that slowly peels back the storyline to find out who Anita was and why hasn’t Julieta seen her in years. The film goes back and forth in time to show us Julieta as a young woman (played by Adriana Ugarte ) and what the consequences of Julieta’s decisions were in her early life and how they affected her in the present. Almodovar has taken three short stories by writer Alice Munro and turned them into a rich and beautiful tale of love, tragedy, betrayal, and hurt.
Both actresses playing Julieta are exceptional, and though they have different energy levels, they seem to project that same feeling of hopelessness and dread, as they are two copies of the same person. He uses the juxtapose of Julieta’s passionate, early life with the present-day life of Julieta, one that contains a vast void. It’s not just youth which causes this widespread chasm in Julieta’s life, its fate and how she dealt with its blows. The contrast between the two characters is immense. The young Julieta is full of life and color, happily bouncing down hallways in brightly-colored dresses, full of youth and vigor. The older Julieta has been beaten down by life, and her choices have had dire consequences.
Right from the start Antxon Gomez production design and cinematographer Jean-Claude Carrieu fill the screen with color; a red dress floats in waves on the screen, almost as if it has blood flowing through it. The film feels brighter and warmer when dealing with the younger Julieta and darker, muted tones when the film shows the older Julieta’s life. The musical score perfectly matches the scenes and reflects the two Julieta’s lives.
Julieta is a passionate, heartbreaking film that beautifully explores how the choices we make in the past can haunt us in the future. My Rating: Full Price
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
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