Dolor y Gloria or Pain and Glory (2019)
Pain and Glory is directed by Pedro Almodovar and stars Antonio Bandera. This is the 8th collaboration between the director and actor. Banderas made his screen debut back in 1982 in a film directed by Almodovar called Labyrinth of Passion.
Banderas plays Salvador Mallo, an aging director who is stymied by a myriad of physical ailments in which in his mind prevent him from writing new screenplays and accepting any job offers. The film starts with Banderas (Salvador) narrating his past and explaining his present debilitating health issues. Salvador is asked to do a retrospective Q & A for the 30th anniversary of a film he directed. The re-release prompts Salvador to reach out to the film’s star Alberto Crespo (played by Asier Etxeandia), whom he had a falling out with and has not spoken to in decades.
The first conversation the two characters have after decades of not speaking is filled with understandable contention. The tension is calmed with the introduction of heroin by Alberto. The opioid gives Salvador some relief from all his physical pain and mental anguish. The drug also causes him to revisit and reflect on his childhood and past choices which becomes the main focus of the movie. The film slows down at time, but ultimately does a fine job in intertwining Salvador’s past and present giving you an idea of who the he came to be as an adult.
Penelope Cruz gives a nice performance as young Salvador’s mother. Asier Etxeandia stellar performance as Alberto brings out the best in Banderas and gives us the best scenes in the film when those two are together on screen.
Antonio Banderas’ heartfelt brilliant portrayal of a man keeping his emotions, passions, and pain bottled up inside while he tries to find some semblance of closure, captivates you and is one of 2019 best performances. Banderas’s role in this film would go on to earn him his first Oscar nomination (Best Actor). Overall, the film is a slow burn and might be tedious for some, but has a career defining performance by Banderas which engages you throughout and captivates you to stay on board.
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