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Parents' Guide to

Pain and Glory

By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Mature semi-autobiographical tale best for Almodovar fans.

Movie R 2019 113 minutes
Pain and Glory Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 15+
age 17+

A longing for a childhood that went by too quickly

A lot of moments of pain and pathos. Moments that are tender that feel like time will break. Moments that replay over and over like a film that we always have on in our minds. Almodóvar is able to capture many moments that pulsate with sadness and sentimentality. But not Spielberg sentimentality, but rather a longing for a childhood that went by too quickly. A wonderful film that frames first passions and loves.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This semi-autobiographical drama will captivate Almodovar's fans and attract followers of Spain's two biggest film exports, Banderas and Cruz. But it's unlikely to bring the director many new or younger followers. Its natural audience, beyond existing fans, is people of a certain age who are susceptible to themes about aging, lost loves, and nostalgia for the past. Banderas, who won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his work in Pain and Glory, offers a subtle and vulnerable performance. He sports a look and mannerisms that are purposefully reminiscent of Almodovar's, although the director insists the film isn't entirely autobiographical (in interviews, he's talked about some of what was invented, including the heroin use). Cruz, in turn, explodes on screen in a role that may remind audiences of her Oscar-nominated performance in the director's 2006 Volver. Together with rising Spanish star Etxeandia and a memorable, understated scene with Argentina's Sbaraglia, the actors carry the movie, and their on-screen magnetism is impossible to deny.

Fans will enjoy picking out cameos by the director's producer-brother, regular "chicas Almodovar" (Cecilia Roth, Julieta Serrano), and up-and-coming Spanish stars (like pop flamenco artist Rosalía, who sings in an opening scene), as well as spotting omnipresent literary and cinematic references. All this is intentional: Almodovar films blend together, with characters, storylines, scenes, settings, themes, and references mingling throughout his filmography, providing endless fodder for enthusiastic cinema fans and critics. So much repetition can get, well, a little repetitive after 20+ films, yet the director remains a darling of the international circuit, an icon at home in Spain, and a regular presence at Cannes, where Pain and Glory premiered to rave reviews.

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