By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
In the riveting drama "Parallel Mothers," Penelope Cruz
("The 355") reunites with writer/director and her longtime collaborator Pedro Almodóvar
(“Pain and Glory”).
“Parallel Mothers” made a splash on the film festival circuit and is now garnering Awards Season buzz.
In the movie, Cruz stars as Janis Martinez, a successful, professional photographer in Madrid who is committed to her career and is even more thrilled that she's going to have her first child.
Janis is single but fell for a married a forensic anthropologist named Arturo (Israel Elejalde, "The Perfect") who she met during a photo shoot. Janis, who lives in Madrid, is hoping Arturo can help bring closure to her family as they seek to find answers and the remains of relatives who were forced to dig their own graves before they were murdered under the horrific dictatorship of Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War.
In her village there is an unmarked grave and Janis believes her great, grandfather is buried there.
That's the darkest aspect of "Parallel Mothers," but Almodóvar weaves it in the film in such a complementary fashion.
While in the hospital, Janis is placed in a room with Ana (a terrific Milena Smit, TV 's "The Girl in the Mirror"), a teen who is also having her first child, but unlike Janis she isn't nearly as excited about the experience mainly because the baby’s daddy is pretty much out of sight.
Fortunately, Ana's mother, Teresa (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, "Alex's Strip") is well off and willing to do anything to help her daughter find her way. However, mom is also trying to live her best life and become a stage actress. She’s torn between staying with Ana or chasing her dream.
Once the women give birth, Teresa leaves. Janis and Ana bond and become good friends. Before going their separate ways, they vow to see each other. Fate brings them together. Then an unbelievable situation arises that shakes their friendship and lives to the core.
I like what Pedro Almodóvar has done with "Parallel Mothers." It's like two startling stories in one that focuses on past and present families and how their shared history ultimately connects and defines them.
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Watch This Trailer For "PARALLEL MOTHERS"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.