A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that All About My Mother is a Spanish-language film (with English subtitles) from 1999 by Pedro Almodóvar. There's a lot of frank talk about sexuality and sex acts using crude language, but the only depiction is a brief, vague simulation of oral sex. Language used includes "c--k," "d--k," "f--k," and "t--ts," and more, mostly in an "among friends" context, not verbal hostility. A major plot point includes a pregnant nun. One scene briefly shows a sexual assault with one breast clearly shown, and blood streams from the victim's nose. Women's breasts are briefly glimpsed at a prostitute pickup circle. Important characters die. A minor character is a drug addict; there's some discussion about her addiction, with characters looking for her when she's out seeking drugs, and in one scene she smokes something behind a closed door. Teens may be attracted by the strong sexual themes (including a major transgender character), but the themes are subtly and slowly explored. Best for mature, patient viewers.
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A heartbreaking female-driven melodrama about motherhood, friendship, identity and the hardships and abuses suffered by women
What's the story?
In ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER, tragedy drives Manuela (Cecilia Roth) to return to Barcelona 18 years after fleeing to Madrid as a pregnant and unmarried young woman. While she's looking for the father of her child, she reunites with an old friend, takes in a pregnant nun, and becomes a personal assistant to the unwitting catalyst of the tragedy that pulled her back to Barcelona in the first place.
Is it any good?
Pedro Almodóvar's well-known reverence of women is beautifully realized here, thanks to a fantastic script, steady hand, and keen, loving eye for detail. Every character in All About My Mother adds a nuance, from brilliant shine to dark shadow, to the multifaceted gem that is womanhood. And Almodóvar does so with a light, down-to-earth touch that never looks down from on high. Fantastic performances and a story that unfolds gracefully make it well worth watching. Best for mature teens who can handle graphic talk about sex and gender identity. It's a thoughtful and thought-provoking movie that rewards the patient viewer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the strong language in All About My Mother. How much is OK? Does it seem realistic to you?
How does the movie explore gender identity, especially through the character Agrado? Did her character teach you anything new, or change how you feel, about transgender people?
Have attitudes about HIV/AIDS changed much since the movie was made in 1999? How so, or why not? How accurate is Rosa's story, in terms of how she became HIV-positive and the effect on her baby?
- In theaters: April 8, 1999
- On DVD or streaming: July 11, 2000
- Cast: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Antonia San Juan, Penelope Cruz
- Director: Pedro Almodovar
- Studios: El Deseo, Renn Productions, France 2 Cinema, Via Digital
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Sexuality, language, and some drug content
- Awards/Honors: Academy Award, Golden Globe
- Last updated: January 23, 2020
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