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Julieta

Director:  Pedro Almodóvar
Year Released:  2016
Rating:  1.5

Downtrodden, borderline mad Julieta (Emma Suárez as the older version, Adriana Ugarte as the younger) hears about the daughter that abandoned her years earlier and starts reminiscing about her own tragic past (including the death of her ex-husband in a boating accident). Working from a trio of somber short stories by Alice Munro, this is certainly Pedro working out of his element: while typically brash and full of pep, for this one it's the Spanish director in navel-gazing mode, weighed down by its own despair (plus, the 'spiritual' reasons for the daughter bolting are never fully explored). There's no flair, no zip, no energy, it just hangs around like a gray cloud, consumed by grief - the ending, with Julieta and her new lover driving to meet her long-estranged offspring, is an all-too brief glimpse of salvation. For the next one, how about more people in comas and kidnapping and crazed surgeons and perhaps a SCUBA toy...?

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