Pain and Glory

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Year Released: 2019
Rating: 3.0

Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas), an aging filmmaker with a significant number of physical ailments, reconnects with a former collaborator to re-release a film they did together, starts smoking heroin (never a good idea) and keeps drifting off to memories of his youth, where he and his mother (Penélope Cruz) lived in a cave.  At 70 years old, this is Almodóvar's 8½ moment, and being one of the best filmmakers in the world it's safe to say he's earned it: the flashbacks to living in poverty may drag down the film's forward progress, but this is a version of the filmmaker I've never seen before, pensive and tortured and ... honestly, fearful.  Banderas shines in one of his best roles - he turns down the machismo and lets himself appear vulnerable: this is not the same guy who could kidnap Victoria Abril and this is not a director with the patience to have his spastic ladies shouting over each other ... and that's quite alright.