Previously I would have said I didn’t have a favorite for Best Actress at the Oscars this year. I thought (and still kind of think) Nicole Kidman’s going to get it maybe Jessica Chastain- everyone was… fine. In perfectly fine movies. But after seeing Parallel Mothers I can honestly say Penelope Cruz should win.
And I still didn’t love the movie.
But she was great.
She plays Janis a woman whose very happy to be having a baby even without help from the father. In the maternity ward she meets a young woman called Ana who doesn’t quite feel the same but they become friends.
Which is not saying much I know but I went into this without knowing much so you should go along for the ride without me ruining it.
There’s some elements that are a little melodramatic that really surprised me. But Cruz anchors everything beautifully you understand everything Janis doesn’t even if you don’t necessarily agree with it.
Though I will say there’s one element to her relationship with Ana that I didn’t agree with at all or think particularly necessary.
And Parallel Mothers is a bit of a messy movie in some regards. Its bookended by Janis desire to find the grave of her great- grandfather and several other men from the village who were killed during the Spanish Civil War. I thought that was really interesting and I know little about it. I think the end had a lot of realistic elements to it but it kind of disappears for most of the movie once the baby stuff gets going so it was a bit like, “Oh yeah that’s happening again.”
Also as we get closer to the end I swear I was getting like Fatal Attraction feelings and a lot of issues are resolved off-screen for the most part. (I could practically hear Producer and Writer Guy from Screen Rant in my head…)
So like every film in the Best Actress category I didn’t love it. I can see how this might even be pretty decisive in some ways. But unlike some, in terms of realistic fully-developed character, I think it shined there and it was interesting and you can’t beat that. And honestly Penelope Cruz definitely deserves the Best Actress Oscar.
Whether it will or should win Best International Feature is a whole other story!
Recommend: Yes. Parallel Mothers is worth a watch!