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Painfully well-intentioned but frequently clunky, particularly in its final throes,
is the latest feature from Spanish director Julio Medem (
Sex and Lucia
). Penélope Cruz is nonetheless on bravura form as a recently unemployed teacher and devoted mother diagnosed with breast cancer, forced to grit her teeth and endure treatment alone as her husband cavorts with another woman. Solace comes in the shape of Luis Tosar's football scout, to whom our heroine provides reciprocal comfort when he suffers a double tragedy. It's a fidgety, somewhat frustrating effort that darts back and forth across short time periods, while the cool visuals and eerie piano score are an awkward match for the heightened emotions at play. Sadly, the harder
strives for poignancy the more ridiculous it gets - the musical offerings from Asier Etxeandia's weirdly chummy gynaecologist prove especially bizarre. Cruz keeps things engaging but she's really up against it in a film that's mawkish, melodramatic and sometimes comically misjudged.
A single mum finds meaning in new friendships as her treatment for breast cancer intensifies. Spanish drama, starring Penelope Cruz.
Cast & Crew
24 Jun 2016
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