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Movie Review

Volver

MPAA Rating: R for sexual content and language

Reviewed by: Rev. Grant Wright
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Foreign, Comedy, Drama
Length:
2 hr.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
November 3, 2006
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

What does the Bible say about adultery? Answer

Anger

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Duenas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Producer: Agustin Almodovar, Esther Garcia, Esther García
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

TrademarkActress Penélope Cruz was nominated for an Academy award for best “Performance by an actress in a leading role” for her part in this film.

“Volver” (or translated “The Return”) is a beautiful film by Pedro Almodóvar. For the story to be dealing with murder, abuse, guilt and abandonment, this film does a remarkable job of being light hearted and positive. I could not help but feel this was more of a foreign version of a chick flick without the love story. It is however, family and friendship that matters in “Volver,” making for an enjoyable viewing experience.

A dead man in a restaurant freezer, a ghost living with a sister and revelations about sexual abuse do make for an interesting movie, even though I felt there was not a great deal of depth to the story itself. The strength of the film is the character development and the bonds that tie a group of women together through thick and thin. Primarily, this is a film of survival, with three generations of women all having to cope with separate accounts of abuse. Focusing on Raimunda (Penélope Cruz), we are taken on a slightly emotional ride on how she and her family members have (and will) overcome tragedy. I feel if I tell any more I will be ruining any twists that this film may give.

I did not find this film extremely offensive, except Raimunda’s husband’s perverseness that leads to a scene where you know he is masturbating and the occasional conversation being a little crude.

Obviously, as a Christian I don’t believe murder was the solution for the abusive situations, and the film does tend to justify this action as a means to an end. However, I could not overlook the commitment and love shown especially by the ghost mother to the sick and ailing. This was a good visual image to me of Jesus’ commands to us to “heal the sick” (Matt. 10:8); commends those who provide care (Matt. 25:31-40); and urges Christians to share in his ministry of healing and compassion (Mark 6:12-13). Volver finishes with an air of hope, it just does not compare to the hope we as Christians have for our sins have been paid for by our redeemer Jesus Christ.

I would recommend this movie to women of 16 years and above.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I always enjoy foreign films. I want to see the landscape, the housing, the customs, the clothing—another land. “Volver” is set in the middle of everything—the city as well as the countryside. It offers a great deal of information on current Spain. The story, however, is another matter. It is bizarre, to say the least. I must say I was surprised by your reviewer’s moral rating of only average. There are a couple of killings within the thematic material—killings that were covered up, no less. This alone tips the moral rating toward offensive. The subject matter also suggests and alludes to sexual abuse and other unseemly sexual activity. There are aspects of the story that make it almost unbelievable, like some sort of fable. Nevertheless, with the editing as fine, and the acting as good it is; it all somehow comes together for a satisfying movie experience. I, too, would recommend it, but only to mature audiences.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
Halyna Barannik, age 60