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Pain and Glory All Glory and No Pain, An Impressive Film from Almodóvar Grade: B+

Source: IMDb


Pain and Glory tells a story about a film director Salvador (Antonio Banderas) whom recently had forgiven a cast member Alberto (Asier Etxeandia) for a past feud they had together. Salvador would like to get together with Alberto for a special Q&A event at a theater, showing the acclaimed classic they worked on together in the past. Then Salvador reminisces his past life, as he struggles with a throat problem and guilt in the present. The Cinematography, Set Design, Costume Design were all wonderful. The reason why I put these categories all together as one, is due to the fact it doesn’t feel different from the other, it all feels mesh together to create a beautiful blend. The film does talk about paintings for a brief moment, which is ironic because visually this film looks like a painting. Especially when the film is dealing with the color red, it just comes at your eye magically as it stays with you for a few days after watching it. The Score was solid as well, really enjoyed the music in this. The cast in this film was pretty good as well. Salvador played by Antonio Banderas is honestly my favorite performance he’s done in his entire career, he is great in this film. I haven’t seen The Skin I Live In which was also from the film maker of this film, but after watching Pain and Glory I now want to watch it, due to the fact Pedro Almodovar brings out a whole new breed out of Antonio Banderas as I’m quite shocked in how great he is in this film. The character Salvador was a very interesting character study of this acclaimed director, whom feels run down by the past, as he’s dealing with health issues, loneliness, taking heroine and over doing his medication. Despite this film having some funny moments, it was tough to watch an acclaimed genius to turn the way he is today. Also watching Salvador past as a small child was really fascinating as well, as you’ve come to learn his true identity. Asier Etxeandia playing Alberto was really good as well, giving quite a powerful supporting performance. This character seems like the actors best friend, as you can show off your talents with this role as you can tell Asier had a nice time with this role. I really enjoyed Penélope Cruz and Asier Flores playing Salvador’s past child version of himself and his mother, both were really good together. Couple flaws I have for this film. Some scenes dragged in the third act, as I didn’t really care for Salvador’s last encounter with his mother before she died, it was a pretty boring scene. Also I wanted more out of Salvador’s past life, as I wanted to learn about him when he was a teenager, young adult, and the feud with Alberto. All Glory and no Pain out of this film, as I was truly impressed in what I just watched. It’s all thanks to this wonderfully written script, despite my issues with it in the third act, is still a well written script. Your truly invested in this man’s story start to finish, as it’s an intriguing tale. You get your coming of age story, followed by a standard drama, a hint of comedy, and slowly coming to terms with redemption from the past all in one. With regarding wanting more out of Salvador’s past, you can counter with this flaw, as far this film pulls off a clever trick during the conclusion of it all. It left me going, “Ah, I see what you did there, NIOCE!” I wouldn’t call this your typical crowd pleasing feel good movie, but I will say I would consider this a feel good movie as this may bring people’s spirits up, learning about forgiveness and rising above adversity. Overall, Pain and Glory is a pretty damn good film. I highly recommend this film, I really enjoyed watching this as this is real cinema we’re talking here. -Mitch Smietana

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