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6.8/10 by 180 users
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The film spans 30 years in Julieta’s life from a nostalgic 1985 where everything seems hopeful, to 2015 where her life appears to be beyond repair and she is on the verge of madness.

Release Date:April 8, 2016
Genres:Drama, Romance
Production Co.:El Deseo, TVE, Canal+ France, Ciné +
Production Countries:Spain
Director:Pedro Almodóvar
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:spain, sex, depression, baby, secret, nudity, lover, pain, female friendship, marriage, friendship, autobiography, love, loneliness, mother daughter relationship, pregnant, hospital, single mother, guilt, death, happiness, childhood, maturity, mother daughter estrangement, flashback, madrid spain, memories, troubled family

Julieta Reviews

  • Immaculate piece of cinema
    by Ruben Mooijman on 7 June 2016

    38 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

    The screenplay of 'Julieta' is constructed with almost mathematical precision. In one of the first scenes, director Almodovar presents the question that is central to the rest of the film: what happened to the daughter of lead character Julieta? Most of the film consists of a long flashback, in which he slowly reveals the circumstances and events that led to her disappearance. At the end of the film, we are back in the present again, and we know everything there is to know.

    It's a story Hitchcock would have been proud of: there is suspense, a beautiful blonde femme fatale, and psychological story elements. Not only the story, but also the cinematography is reminiscent of the master of suspense. Every scene is shot with extreme attention to lighting, colour and camera angle. Small details are the cherry on the cake: notice the way Almodovar introduces the birthday cake for the disappeared daughter: shot from above, as if it is a surreal work of art. Another example is the short sex scene in the train: the viewer sees only Julieta's head, but the rest of her body is reflected in the window pane behind her. As a director, Almodovar wants as much to be in control as Hitch. The result is a very beautiful film in every way - even the soundtrack is extremely tasteful.

    'Julieta' is an elegantly filmed drama. There are no outrageous characters, exuberant scenes or other colourful elements we know from his earlier films. This is a restrained, precise and in every way immaculate piece of cinema.

  • my first 10/10 in years
    by dromasca on 1 September 2016

    25 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

    I loved 'Julieta'. Pedro Almodovar's 2016 production is one of those films that captivates the viewers during the whole duration of the screening because of the mastering of story telling and by using human emotions. Other directors may do the same thing by making recourse to thrills or horror or intellectual curiosity but it's hard to keep the attention alive for the whole duration of a long feature film. It's not the case here – as a viewer in a cinema hall I lived every moment of this story together with its (mostly female) heroes, and I keep thinking and caring about the characters hours after the screening finished. I believe that the conditions are met for the first 10 out of 10 grade on my IMDb scale in years.

    Many of the previous films of Almodovar are about love and loss, about communication with and without words, about death and passion and the fragile border between them. What seems to be different in 'Julieta' is the more tender approach and also a message that seems to be more assertive that in many other movies of the Spanish maestro – there are dangers in being lonely and in not being capable to communicate with those you care about.

    The social landscape where the film takes place is the same Spain in evolution from the democratic awakening of the late 70s and early 80s with its breaking of tradition and liberation of passions until the today with its cold and antiseptic kind of connections in the bourgeois or intellectual circles. The family cell is the one that seems to perpetuate not necessarily the traditions but also the cheating and domestic crises in a repetition that one can accept or revolt with all the risks taken. Julieta's profession – a teacher of Greek and mythology, and a good one – puts her in the position to connect between the day to day banality of sentiments and the greater forces of destiny, but her problem resides mainly in the lack of communication with her daughter. Are the walls between generations unavoidable? Is it us who build these walls or is it just destiny that rises them in each generation? Can anything but time turn these walls down?

    As in any great movies there are several levels of story. There is a story of relationship between mother and daughter, and of coming of age. There are threads about family relations that perpetuate for generations, about men who cheat, women who try to balance marriage, mothering, and their own realization, young maids who steal husbands, old maids who talk too much, social differences that can only be hidden but not erased. Death seems to be around the corner at many moments, so is physical incapacity and the pain of coping with the decay of the dear ones – these are some of the recurring themes in the movies of the Spanish master.

    As in many of Almodovar's films its the women characters who share most of the load (although this film also features one sensitive man as a key supporting character). The two actresses that play Julieta at the two stages of her life – Adriana Ugarte as a young woman, Emma Suárez as her elder self are both superb in taking turns to tell the story of a woman who loves and fears, loses all and searches back to find her compass in life. The way the story is written we learn about many of the details and discover some of the hidden threads together with the character. This helps us feel and resonate with her. The elegant casting and direction help us understand that while guilt may pass in between generations, there is always hope, and reconciliation is possible sometimes when not too many questions are asked. Beautifully filmed, deeply moving, superbly acted – what else can we ask?

  • Almodovar back on something like his best form
    by Martin Bradley (MOscarbradley@aol.com) on 19 September 2016

    16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

    After taking something of a major nose-dive with "I'm So Excited" that many other directors might not have recovered from, Almodovar is back on something approaching his best form. In many respects, "Julieta" is his 'All About My Daughter' though it doesn't have the same emotional clout that "All About My Mother" or "Volver" had. This is Pedro is a very serious mode, perhaps too serious; maybe a little bit of humor might not have gone amiss.

    Julieta is played by two different actresses, (Adriana Ugarte and Emma Suarez), at different stages of her life and much of the film is told in flashbacks. These women, and Almodovar's meticulous direction, hold our attention but I was never moved by the film in a way I felt I should have been, at least until the very end.

    The source material is three stories by Alice Munro, none of which I've read, but considering how seamlessly Almodovar keeps the material flowing I am sure he has done a very fine job of adapting them for the screen, nor can I imagine how the original conception of filming this in English with Meryl Streep might have worked. So not quite top-notch Almodovar but proof, nevertheless, that he can still deliver the goods when he's called to.

  • Something's missing.
    by birthdaynoodle on 30 April 2016

    31 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

    Based on three short stories written by the Canadian author and 2013 Nobel laureate, Alice Munro, I'd say 'Julieta' is about a woman who struggles with the absence of those she'd like to have closest to her, because she foremost lacks a healthy relationship with her own self. It's an interesting premise, but I feel it wasn't developed enough. The movie didn't quite gel for me. I'm a big fan of Almodovar and love the vast majority of his work. However, this is one of perhaps only two films of his that I haven't liked so much. I didn't get into any of the acting nor the dialogue. There's an elegance in the photography that is typical of the director's later work; his bold, Spanish palette is there; the music is suspenseful and keeps building up... But building up to what? I couldn't see where any of this was leading to, so I lost interest. I was also bothered by Julieta's terrible wardrobe and hairdos. At some point, her tangled, blonde hair reminded me of Steven Adler, the drummer of Guns N' Roses. I tell myself this may have been done on purpose to suggest that she's unsophisticated or that something deep inside of her isn't quite right. Certainly, someone like Almodovar, who can be so playful with style, must have had a good reason to give the protagonist that sort of bad taste. But again, I seemed unable to connect the dots.

    The director said in an interview that 'Julieta' may represent the beginning of a new stage for him, in which he replaces the extravagance that he's best known for with a drier, more austere tone. You can definitely see it here and I'm open to this change, if that's where his heart tells him to go. Whatever the case, even though I didn't really enjoy this recent film, I look forward to watching his next work in the cinema. I still think Almodovar is a master filmmaker and I trust that he has more surprises up his sleeve. After all, few people have made as many great movies as he has.

  • Beautiful Spanish life movie.
    by Horrorliefhebber on 28 May 2016

    21 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

    -Julieta is a 2016 Spanish film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar based on three short stories from the book Runaway (2004) by Alice Munro. The film marks Almodóvar's 20th feature and stars Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte as older and younger versions of the film's protagonist, Julieta, alongside Daniel Grao, Inma Cuesta, Darío Grandinetti, Michelle Jenner and Rossy de Palma. The film opened on 8 April 2016 in Spain to mixed, but largely positive, reviews and a smaller box-office opening than most of the director's films. It made its international debut at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or, and will be released across the world throughout the summer of 2016.

    --Critical reception:

    -Reviews for Julieta were mixed, but largely positive, and generally much less critical than those Almodóvar received for his previous film I'm So Excited (2013). Rotten Tomatoes gave Julieta a score of 66% based on reviews from 29 critics; Metacritic gave the film a weighted score of 63/100, based on 10 critiques, which indicates "generally favourable reviews".

    -The film drew praise from critics in Spain, including La Vanguardia, who compared Julieta to the female-centric films of George Cukor and Kenji Mizoguchi while noting hints of Alfred Hitchcock in Almodóvar's screenplay.

    -Julieta had a warm reception at the Cannes Film Festival, which was followed by extremely positive reactions from French film critics, including Le Monde who called it "a beautiful film of very pure sadness" and La Croix who thought the theme of guilt was a welcome new addition to Almodóvar's work, calling Julieta "a beautiful and intense film".

    -The British press were very positive about the film: Screen Daily labelled the film "an anxious, tantalising creature which returns the Spanish director to the exclusive world of women" and stated that Almodóvar's "distinctive voice (grows) in texture and depth with each new production".

    -American critics tended to have more mixed feelings, like Variety, who stated that while the film was "a welcome return to the female-centric storytelling that has earned Almodóvar his greatest acclaim, it is far from this reformed renegade's strongest or most entertaining work".

  • Event-driven, character-abundant, still artsy yet mainstream
    by Harry T. Yung (harry_tk_yung@yahoo.com) on 24 September 2016

    5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

    This Palme d'Or contestant does not reflect Almodovar's penchant for gender-bending, or his often convoluted scripts. However, it retains his female-centric theme. As "Julieta" is very much event-driven, I shall take the liberty of giving it chapter titles. The prologue shows Julieta on the verge of cleansing any thought of her daughter Antia who has gone missing for over a decade. Then she bumps into Antia's teenage-days buddy Beatrice who has in turn recently bumped into Antia, now a mother of three. This triggers Julieta's writing letters to her missing daughter (with nowhere to send) to tell her things she had not been told before. The main body of the movie is flashbacks based on these letters.

    1. STRANGERS ON THE TRAIN. Julieta is seventeen. The first stranger is a middle-age man who tries to strike up a conversation, which turns her away. The second is young fisherman Xoan she encounters in the dining car, reminding you of Celine and Jessie. But circumstances are different as Xoan has a wife who is in a coma. There is distinct Hitchcockian mood here when the train comes to an abrupt halt. Despite the engineer's categorical denial, the train did hit something. When it turns out that it is the successful suicide attempt of the middle-age man, Julieta suffers a sudden pang of guilt while Xoan comforts her. They end up making love on the train.

    2. DOMESTICITY BLISS. A few months later, a letter from Xoan announcing his wife's demise brings Julieta to his village, when she has news for him too: she is pregnant. Antia is born healthy and beautiful.

    3. MOTHER'S HELPER. In a side-plot, Julieta brings Antia on a short trip to visit her parents (father just retired and mother an invalid). Turns out that the old couple has hired a young and attractive live-in helper who, in addition to taking care of her mother, also takes care of her father, in a different way. But since Julieta has her own life, in a different city, there isn't much she can do.

    4. UNDERCURRENTS. There are two characters with significance surrounding Xoan. Marian is the dominating matron-type part-time helper who for obvious reasons display immediate hostility towards Julieta. On the other hand, Ava, a sculpture artist, Xoan's long-time friend, is genuinely friendly. When Julieta eventually fires Marian, the latter intimates, through innuendos, that Ava is Xoan's ex-lover and the two still have rendezvous occasionally.

    5. TRAGEDY HITS. During a 3-week period when teenage Antia is at camp, Julieta confronts Xoan about Ava, which may or may not be the reason he seeks refuge on a fishing trip, gets caught in a sudden storm and drowns. In the meantime, Antia at camp meets Beatrice (who appeared in the prologue) and the pair becomes instantly inseparable. This ended up with Antia going to spend some time at Beatrice's affluent house immediately after camp, necessitating Julieta's going there to announce the tragic news of her father's untimely death.

    6. WIDOWED. Mother and daughter move to an apartment and continue their life without a man-in-the-house as Julieta accepts another undesirable reality that she has to share her daughter's affection with Beatrice. After high school, however, Beatrice seeks her career in New York while Antia goes to a secluded retreat for three months as in interlude before university.

    7. DISAPPEARANCE. Julieta drives all the way to pick up Antia, only to be told that her daughter does not want to see her and has gone on to seek her own fulfillment. She lives through hell for a few years, hearing only once from Antia, a blank birthday card on the latter's own birthday.

    8. TYING UP LOOSE ENDS. Upon visiting Ava (Multiple Sclerosis) Julieta finds more clue about Antia's leaving, but nothing conclusive. More importantly, she meets Ava's friend Lorenzo, and the two ended up "giving a reason for each other's existence". This brings the timeline backs to the opening prologue when Julieta bumps into Beatrice. That happens again some time later, with more revelation from Beatrice. The conclusion comes as a letter from Antia with nothing that can really be called a twist.

    I may have used up all the allowed space and this turns out to be sort of a synopsis. So very quickly: great acting, good story-telling, engaging scenes – a somewhat different Almodovar, but still quite recognizable.

  • a darkly sensitive essay about the universal emotion of maternal guilt
    by CineMuseFilms on 30 October 2016

    5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

    You may enjoy Julieta (2016) more if you know that it is a women's film from the melodrama genre and a story of pure emotion. While it is labelled a romance it is nothing like a romance and don't expect light entertainment or laughs as the film is devoid of humour. What is does have is an outpouring of quintessentially maternal guilt and self-absorbed loss that is palpable throughout the film. While critics may be divided, this is a beautiful film with a long aftertaste.

    We meet the attractive widow Julieta just as she is packing to leave Madrid and move with her boyfriend to Portugal. Madrid is full of painful memories, the most intense of which is not seeing her daughter Antia for twelve years. A chance encounter with her daughter's former best friend opens an uncontrollable torrent of guilt which suddenly fills Julieta's life. Abandoning her boyfriend, she decides to stay in Madrid in case Antia ever looks for her. Unable to deal with her grief in any other way, she writes the story of her life as if she is talking to her absent daughter.

    Julieta narrates the story in chapters that become extended flashbacks to her early romance with Antia's father, their lives together as a family and its eventual disintegration. What was once a life full of loving relationships becomes one of multiple losses even though Julieta herself bears little blame for the tragedies. Julieta is unaware how deeply her daughter was affected by what happened and is bewildered when Antia searches for spirituality at a Swiss retreat. Her sudden disappearance without explanation has left her mother with unresolved grief.

    As each chapter unfolds we see the larger portrait of the mother and daughter relationship in all its dense complexity and destructive power. The narrative teasingly denies us knowledge of why Antia refuses all contact with her mother, and year after year Julieta mourns each passing birthday as if it was a funeral. The storytelling intensity is sustained by finely nuanced acting from the two stars who play the younger and older Julieta, and those who play Antia at different ages. The camera-work has a melancholic sensitivity that resonates with the Spanish landscapes and urban settings, and while the story unwinds slowly, to tell it more quickly would lose depth and meaning. Julieta is a darkly sensitive essay about the universal emotion of maternal guilt and its melancholy lifts like a rising fog with a masterfully ambivalent ending that soars.

  • Great movie even if it's not Almodóvar's best one
    by tomer G on 24 September 2016

    6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

    I'm a big fan of Almodóvar's work, his movies follow my life since I was a teenager, I always adore his early work, movies like "Kika", "High heels" and "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" are still considered by me as the height of his career - a bizarre comedy- dramas with a kinky side and raw edges.

    in the late 90's Almodóvar became famous worldwide with movies such as "live flesh" "all about your mother" and "talk to her" a melodramatic movies that touched us with a unique approach and vivid colors.

    this movie is similar to his big successful movies from the late 90s: the women are in the center of the story where the men pushed aside, there is still a melodramatic approach and lots of mysteries that similar to an onion, piled up slowly, layer by layer until the very end of the movie. the colors are vivid like most of his movies, especially the red color, a sign of passion for Almodóvar, just like his Characters who drive themselves by their total passion to life and love.

    so, is that movie good? if you want to compare it to his best and famous work - "all about your mother" and "talk to her" then this movie will lose the fight, it's less sophisticated and the plot has less twists, but still it's a good movie with a touching plot, good acting and a great director who hasn't lost his touch.

  • Mid-level Almodovar; gorgeous, always interesting, but emotionally distant
    by runamokprods on 31 December 2016

    3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

    Not Almodovar's best film, but also far from his weakest. This character study/mystery/melodrama has hints of both Douglas Sirk and even Hitchcock in its beautiful look, production design, and score, even if it's story is more wispy than most films by those old masters.

    Julieta is a classy, attractive middle-aged woman, living seemingly happily with a successful writer, when she encounters an old friend of her daughter's. The friend tells Julieta of running into the girl while traveling – not knowing the daughter disappeared many years ago, a loss that left Julieta emotionally destroyed.

    Julieta abruptly decides to break up with her current man, and live alone to try and deal with the re-awakened grief she had finally managed to tamp down. She writes the story of her adult life and loves – which led to her loss – as a sort of goodbye (perhaps suicide?) letter/diary to her daughter that she knows will probably never be read.

    The story is always interesting, and the performances are generally quite strong (with one glaring exception in Rossy De Palma's over the top villain-y maid, who seems like she's stepped out one of Almodovar's far less subtle, more campy stories). But while the characters are going through tempests of great emotion, the film kept me cool, removed and observational. That's no crime, but it did keep it from being a powerful experience -- it ended up being an 'interesting and stylish' one instead. Almodovar has said he intended the film to be seen twice, so one can re-see the scenes understanding the film's later revelations, and as admire his work I'm willing to give it that chance and see if that deepens the experience.

  • the two lives of one woman
    by RResende on 3 September 2016

    2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

    When a worthy artist gets to develop his work for a long time, we who follow his work are usually lucky enough to get new phases, new developments, reworks of his themes, and so on. That is the case with Almodóvar, and I don't know whether this film will be the first of a certain new phase, but it stands out in his work

    What he tries here is to gather the pieces of female souls which are more often than not the building blocks of his best work, and map them into the territory of the cinematic suspense as understood by Hitchcock. It's pretty ambitious and clever when you think about it: The audiences will recognize the genre, and go with it. So he uses the channel of genre, but twists the content. It's not a whodunit but it probably worked on me as a kind of an emotional noir. So this probably is the closest Almodóvar will ever get to making a genre film. In promotional interviews he assumed is attempt at making the whole thing as restrained as possible, and as such it is interesting to see him setting himself rules and refining his intuitions with reduction instead of enhancement, as he usually does.

    He proposes an emotional puzzle, the story of a broken soul, already know to the older Julieta, but not to us, and certainly not to the young Julieta. So the overlapping of the young and older Julieta becomes crucial in the understanding the narrative dimension that he proposes: 2 different actresses, and effectively two different characters, with a common set of memories, or better still: the younger exists in the memory, or as a memory, of the older. Both are obviously interconnected, and the writing device here is that the life and decisions of the young Julieta forms the basis for the emptiness of the older one. But we learn about the past mostly because the older Julieta writes about it, each half of her soul co-creating the other half. That's the device and the beauty of it. The connection point is underlined with a shot where a towel is dropped over young Julieta's face, and when it is lifted we find the suddenly aged, broken older one. That shot will be remembered, and again it has a kind of narrative economy which Hitchcock probably tried and mastered better than anyone else. That's the pivot to the whole concept.

    He than fills the narrative with a by now standard emotional field of relations and connections: Julieta casually knows a man on a train, while feeling repulsion towards another one whose presence as a symbolic meaning. He enters his life, already crowded by two women: one sinister Psycho/Rebecca type of mother figure, played by Rossy de Palma, and the other one who works on the level of desire, sexual fulfillment, played by Inma Cuesta. Julieta is an intruder, who comes to replace the figure of the wife in coma. She breaks the triangle first by removing the mother figure, and unwillingly causing the tragedy by trying to remove the sexual sculptor who creates phallic shaped artworks. Her daughter (conceived on a train) links the older Julieta to her former life. Julieta becomes Almodóvar's Vertigo, his woman who lived twice. But she is Stewart and Novak in one divided character, that's the trick.

    Other references to fate and destiny, like the menacing sea tempest announcing tragedy, the suicidal character on the train, or the Herrmann inspired soundtrack are only there to build the mood of this sentimental noir, built in chapters more separated and clear than anything Almodóvar has ever done. I'm guessing most of each section's inner structure was borrowed from Munro's short stories on which this is based, which i haven't read. But the working of the character's sounds Almodóvar. New (or renewed) but still him. A part from the already mentioned towel shot, the train section is the bit which worked better for me, the one where all the dynamics of the film are condensed and reduced.

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