Home Parallel Mothers

Parallel Mothers (15)

Cast: Penelope Cruz, Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, Rossy de Palma
Genre: Drama
Author(s): Pedro Almodovar
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Release Date: 28/01/2022 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 123mins
Country: Sp/Fr
Year: 2021

Expectant mothers Janis and Ana meet by chance at hospital as they prepare to deliver their first children. The two women approach their birth with very different mindsets but the same happy resolution. A bond is formed and Janis and Ana continue to support each other as they embark on their journeys of single motherhood with very different, emotionally shattering outcomes.


LondonNet Film Review

Parallel Mothers (15) Film Review from LondonNet

Spanish writer-director Pedro Almodovar reunites with two of his luminous screen muses, Penelope Cruz and Rossy de Palma, for a slow-burning and melodramatic portrait of parenthood. The Oscar-winning filmmaker has repeatedly explored the tangled relationship between matriarchs and children in his stylish and sensual work, most gloriously in his 1999 comedy drama All About My Mother, which navigated life after premature death through the gift of organ donation…

In the aptly titled Parallel Mothers, Almodovar revisits some of his favourite themes with characteristic flourishes but he also leafs through one of the dark chapters of his country’s history during the Spanish Civil War. Politics and personal trauma are slowly exhumed from layers of Almodovar’s simple yet effective script, providing Cruz with another complex, emotionally demanding role that veers into unexpectedly discomfiting territory as telenovela plot mechanisms whir into place with a palpable erotic charge.

Men are largely absent, some by cruel circumstance rather than choice, but not all women are model custodians. The daughter of one errant mama, a glamorous actress who has prioritised her career over domestic responsibilities, says that the only lesson she has learnt from her mother is to “live my life and be free.” Almodovar’s heroines in Parallel Mothers follow that selfish credo, occasionally to their detriment, but when they stumble and fall, they defiantly dust themselves off and do not instinctively reach out a hand for a man to help them to their feet.

Photographer Janis Martinez (Cruz) meets charming forensic archaeologist Arturo (Israel Elejalde) at a shoot and she seeks his advice about excavating a Spanish Civil War mass grave close to her home village. Arturo has a wife undergoing chemotherapy for her cancer but he is attracted to Janis and they sleep together. Soon after, she falls pregnant and chooses to raise the child alone without Arturo’s involvement. Before Janis gives birth with support from her magazine editor best friend Elena (de Palma), she befriends pregnant teenager Ana Manso (Milena Smit) and her mother Teresa (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon) at the hospital.

Janis and Ana deliver daughters on the same night, Cecilia and Anita respectively, and agree to keep in touch as they embark on journeys as single mothers. Months later, tragedy unexpectedly brings the two women closer but Janis has an ulterior motive for wanting to hire Ana as a live-in au pair for baby Cecilia that will test their sisterly solidarity to breaking point.

Parallel Mothers hinges on a classic soap opera contrivance but Almodovar mines genuine tears and pain from the fallout. Cruz and Smit are well matched as their characters’ relationship ebbs and flows, acknowledging their beautiful imperfections in a world that holds carers to impossibly high standards. Failures litter every parental journey. Learning from them is the key.

– Jo Planter


Popular on LondonNet


London Cinemas Showing Parallel Mothers


From: Friday 5th August
To: Thursday 11th August

From: Friday 12th August
To: Thursday 18th August

No cinema infomation at the moment

UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Parallel Mothers


From: Friday 5th August
To: Thursday 11th August

From: Friday 12th August
To: Thursday 18th August

No cinema infomation at the moment