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The Hollywood Insider Madres paralelas Review, Penelope Cruz

Photo: ‘Parallel Mothers’ 

Parallel Mothers’ is a Spanish drama film directed and written by Pedro Almodóvar, who is also known for popular films such as ‘Talk to Her’ and ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.’ The drama film follows the story of two pregnant single mothers, which include excited middle-aged woman Janis (Penélope Cruz) and not-so-excited adolescent Ana (Milena Smit). The soon-to-be mothers’ paths cross while they both find themselves in the same hospital room as they are about to give birth. As always, there are no spoilers to be found here, but I can guarantee this film will feature unexpected twists that were so shocking and brilliant that the film happened to bring about a nine-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival in the Sala Grande. 

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‘Madres Paralelas’ 

‘Parallel Mothers,’ since its first release in Spain in October 2021, has received several award wins and nominations, and you will be able to check it out in the United States on December 24. Pedro Almodóvar is one of the most internationally acclaimed Spanish filmmakers, and his film work shows just how brilliant he is as a film creator and director. In ‘Parallel Mothers,’ we watch Janis and Ana navigate their new lives as soon-to-be mothers, but their journeys are quite different. As mentioned before, Janis is ecstatic even though the father of her child seems hesitant and questioning throughout the film, and Ana is quite the opposite. 

With this in mind, Janis acts as a sort of motherly encouraging figure to Ana as they find themselves in the same hospital room on the day they are about to give birth. As they roam the hospital corridors, their paths may have been crossed in more than one way; on top of their journey as mothers, these events bring the drama of the film. As mentioned before, the father of Janis’ child, Arturo (Israel Elejalde), is unsure of the pregnancy and really does not share the same excitement as Janis about their future child, who is shown throughout the majority of the trailer. 

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The trailer also shows what seems to be Arturo’s request that she get a paternity test, which Janis obliges, but also is insistent that Arturo is the father of the child while speaking with a friend or family member. The trailer is vague when it comes to Janis and Ana’s time in the hospital and really about Ana’s life after the hospital as well, which only brings more curiosity as to what drama will surface throughout the film. Were the women’s babies switched at birth, or will they become lifelong friends? Will their children be raised together? The trailer for the film does not reveal much, but one thing is for sure I am extremely intrigued to see what it is in store for Janis and Ana as they navigate their new lives as mothers. As mentioned before, Pedro Almodóvar directed and wrote ‘Parallel Mothers’, which is extremely interesting as he has mentioned before that all of his films have some sort of autobiographical dimension. 

Navigating Motherhood

‘Parallel Mothers’ does not follow Janis and Ana’s story at the hospital the entire film, but rather features aspects of their lives after their stay at the hospital, and viewers can even watch the children grow as well. As mentioned before, Janis and Ana collide in the hospital, bringing them to confront their new lives as single mothers together, which is honestly beautiful in itself. It is not every day that two newly single mothers would happen to meet by fate as they are about to give birth, which I think makes this film extremely intriguing. 

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It is clear that Arturo hangs around Janis, but what is not clear is if he stays around to help Janis raise the newborn or if he takes a different route and avoids the child at all costs. In one scene from the trailer, Janis shows Arturo a photo of a baby, and he raises a point that the child has features similar to his mother. Based on the trailer, it seems Janis and Arturo were in some kind of relationship. Still, ultimately they had an unexpected pregnancy which revealed that Arturo was a little less excited than Janis about the surprise. Once again, Ana’s journey is vague throughout the trailer, but knowing that she was scared of having a child, it seems she was not wholly prepared to be a mother yet either. 

Janis is a fantastic photographer navigating throughout life as a new mother, which leads to her taking on photography jobs that she might normally avoid as a skilled photographer. Throughout the trailer, it is clear that Janis has a woman that is either guiding her through her career acting as a manager or some other type of figure in her life. Still, the trailer for the film is vague and does not entirely reveal Ana or Janis’ life journeys or situations. 

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Overall, I am excited to see what will come for the new mothers as they navigate the dramas and new experiences of motherhood while also navigating whatever else Pedro Almodóvar decided to add to make the film more drama-filled. Whatever it is, I am extremely intrigued as I know Pedro Almodóvar is known for his shocking twists, and of course, I know the film landed a nine-minute standing ovation when it premiered in Sala Grande. ‘Parallel Mothers’ is expected to be released in the United States on December 24, and I can guarantee you will not want to miss it.

What’s Next

Penélope Cruz will next be seen in ‘The 355’ with Jessica Chastain and Diane Kruger, directed by Simon Kinberg. Milena Smit will next be seen in ‘The Girl in the Mirror’ with Mireia Oriol and Pol Monen, directed by Sergio G. Sánchez. Israel Elejalde will next be seen in ‘Edén’ with Charlotte Vega and Marta Nieto, directed by Estefania Cortes. Pedro Almodóvar’s next project will be ‘A Manual for Cleaning Women’ starring Cate Blanchett

Cast: Penélope Cruz, Milena Smit, Israel Elejalde

Director/Writer: Pedro Almodóvar

By Chelsea Black 

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