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"VOLVER"
(2006) (Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Moderate Extreme Moderate Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Mild None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Minor Extreme Heavy Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Dramedy: A newly single mother must not only contend with her husband's unexpected death, but also the reappearance of her own mother who supposedly died several years earlier.
PLOT:
Still haunted by her parents reportedly burning to death in their sleep several years ago, Raimunda (PÉNELOPE CRUZ) visits her mother's sister, Tia Paula (CHUS LAMPREAVE), and is surprised how well she's doing despite nearly being blind and teetering on senility. Raimunda's 14-year-old daughter Paula (YOHANA COBO) and beautician sister Sole (LOLA DUEÑAS) think that's probably due to neighbor Agustina (BLANCA PORTILLO) watching out for Paula, but Raimunda isn't so sure.

She has bigger concerns, however, when she comes home from work one day to discover that her deadbeat, good-for-nothing husband, Paco (ANTONIO DE LA TORRE), is lying dead in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. It seems that he came on to Paula in a drunken stupor and didn't heed the knife his stepdaughter was holding to ward him off.

With her friend and former boss leaving town for a while, Raimunda decides to stash Paco's body over at the man's closed restaurant in the freezer. During this, she runs into a movie crew representative who'd like her to feed his workers, and thus she unofficially reopens the restaurant.

At the same time, Sole similarly gets an unexpected visitor. Rather than being from a movie set, however, Irene (CARMEN MAURA) appears to have come from beyond the grave, as she's the sisters' long dead mother. Realizing her presence would greatly upset Raimunda, Sole tries to hide their mother from her, even going as far as telling her customers that Irene is her new Russian help.

From that point on, it's only a matter of time before that unlikely reunion takes place, thus forever changing the way all of them look at life and death.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of someone in the cast, the director, or foreign cinema, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some sexual content and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • PÉNELOPE CRUZ plays a woman whose life is turned upside down when her teenage daughter accidentally kills her lecherous stepfather (Raimunda's deadbeat husband) as well as by the sudden reappearance of her supposedly death mother. She conceals Paco's death, reopens a restaurant where she formerly worked (and does so without permission from the owner) and briefly uses strong profanity.
  • YOHANA COBO plays her 14-year-old daughter who ends up accidentally killing her father (she believes he's her biological dad, but he's not) when he comes on to her. She later enjoys spending time with her grandmother.
  • LOLA DUEÑAS plays Raimunda's sister, a hairdresser who's the first to encounter their mother and then tries to hide her from Raimunda while lying to others to conceal the mother's identity.
  • CARMEN MAURA plays the sisters' mother, reported to have died in a fire, but who now appears to have returned from the dead wanting to spend time with her adult daughters.
  • CHUS LAMPREAVE plays her old sister who somehow seems to have little problem living alone despite nearly being blind and bordering on being senile.
  • BLANCA PORTILLO plays the neighbor woman who cares for Tia Paula, misses her former hippie mother, and occasionally smokes pot.
  • ANTONIO DE LA TORRE plays Raimunda's good-for-nothing husband who comes on to his teenage stepdaughter, drinks a lot, and ends up paying the price for both.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated dramedy. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually related dialogue is present (mostly from a prostitute), as is sexually related material (a husband coming on to his wife and then masturbating when rebuked, a reference to forced incest). A man sneaks a peek at his teenage stepdaughter's clothed crotch and later bare breast, while various women show abundant cleavage.

    Violence includes an off-screen, accidental murder (we do see the bloody results, and things are somewhat played lightly despite the seriousness of the event and its catalyst of a man sexually coming on to his teenage stepdaughter), while there's talk of past murder and incestuous rape.

    That obviously leads to tense family moments, while other related material (including that of real and supposed parental and other familial deaths) is also present. Some material is lightly played in alluding to the presence of ghosts (but we later learn that's not the case), and various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    A woman with cancer smokes pot on several occasions, while some characters drink and brief smoking occurs. Finally, there's a bit of crude and scatological material.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Agustina says that every time she smokes a joint, she thinks of her mom, a former hippie. We then see Agustina rolling one and she offers some to Raimunda and Sole (saying she grows her own), but they turn down the offer. Agustina then comments if not for the pot, she'd have no appetite.
  • We see empty beer bottles and some leftover beer in glasses at the restaurant.
  • Paco has a beer, we see many empties in front of him, and he asks Raimunda for another.
  • Raimunda finds Paula acting oddly, and when they return home, she finds out why. Paula explains she was in the kitchen when Paco, who was drunk, came up behind her and came on to her, including unzipping his pants.
  • Miscellaneous people have beer and wine in the restaurant.
  • We see mojitos being filled at the restaurant for a movie wrap party, and Raimunda has a few sips of hers.
  • Raimunda's friend says that with her drinks and Raimunda's cleavage, they should start working nights and liven up the place (a joke about being prostitutes).
  • Raimunda lies to the restaurant owner that a prospective buyer wants to use the place as a front for drugs or prostitution (but she then comes clean about that).
  • Agustina, who has cancer, smokes a joint.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Raimunda finds Paula acting oddly, and when they return home, she finds out why. Paula explains she was in the kitchen when Paco, who was drunk, came up behind her and came on to her, including unzipping his pants. She then pulled a knife as a warning, but he didn't believe her, saying he wasn't her father and then attacked her, resulting in her stabbing him (we hear about, but don't see any of that). We then see Paco lying face down on the floor, dead, with pools of blood on either side of him. Raimunda is shocked, but immediately sets out to clean up the blood, first soaking it up with towels and then mopping it. We see blood on all of that, his hand and shirt, the trashcan where she throws away the bloody towels, and on the knife that she pulls out (we don't see the wound) and then washes.
  • When a neighbor spots some blood on Raimunda's neck (from cleaning up Paco's blood), he asks if she's okay, and she says it's a woman thing (alluding to menstrual blood).
  • Raimunda arrives at her sister's place and twice states she has to "piss" (Sole tells Paula that when they were kids they just went in the yard). We then see Raimunda sit on the toilet (we briefly see the side of her bare butt) and pulls her panties down between her thighs (we hear the sound of her urinating).
  • Raimunda starts sniffing around (literally) Sole's place, saying it smells of farts, and then she, Sole and Paula laugh about their mom "farting her ass off" in the past.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • As 14-year-old Paula is sprawled out in an adjacent chair on the phone with her legs spread in her short skirt, Paco (her father) stares at her crotch (that we see in close-up, but it's clothed). Later, he stops in the hallway to peer into her partly open door where he sees her dressing. We see her bare back and the full side of a bare breast (she doesn't seem him, but senses someone there, although when she finally looks, he's gone).
  • Raimunda finds Paula acting oddly, and when they return home, she finds out why. Paula explains she was in the kitchen when Paco, who was drunk, came up behind her and came on to her, including unzipping his pants. She then pulled a knife as a warning, but he didn't believe her, saying he wasn't her father and then attacked her, resulting in her stabbing him (we hear about, but don't see any of that).
  • Raimunda and Paula don't tell anyone of Paco's accidental death and instead hide his body in the restaurant freezer.
  • We hear that neighbors rifled through a dead woman's belongings immediately following her death.
  • Raimunda operates out of a neighbor's restaurant without his permission while he's gone and the place is supposed to be closed (although he has given her the key to the place, but not for that purpose).
  • Irene says her husband cheated on her every day until her death.
  • We hear that Raimunda lied to others about having surgery (as the reason she couldn't attend her aunt's funeral, when it was really to have to conceal Paco's body).
  • Sole lies to Raimunda about Irene (stating she's a Russian woman she's taken in off the street - Raimunda has not seen her yet).
  • Raimunda lies to the restaurant owner that a prospective buyer wants to use the place as a front for drugs or prostitution (but she then comes clean about that).
  • Agustina tells Raimunda that her mother was having an affair with Raimunda's father and that her mother's disappearance is somehow connected to the death of Raimunda's parents (both occurred on the same day).
  • Spoiler Alert: We hear that Raimunda's father raped her in the past, resulting in her being pregnant with Paula, her daughter and half-sister.
  • Spoiler Alert: Irene admits that she caught her husband and Agustina's mother having an affair, so she set their place on fire, killing the adulterous couple.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Raimunda finds Paula acting oddly, and when they return home, she finds out why. Paula explains she was in the kitchen when Paco, who was drunk, came up behind her and came on to her, including unzipping his pants. She then pulled a knife as a warning, but he didn't believe her, saying he wasn't her father and then attacked her, resulting in her stabbing him (we hear about, but don't see any of that). We then see Paco lying face down on the floor, dead, with pools of blood on either side of him. Raimunda is shocked, but immediately sets out to clean up the blood, first soaking it up with towels and then mopping it. We see blood on all of that, his hand and shirt, the trashcan where she throws away the bloody towels, and on the knife that she pulls out (we don't see the wound) and then washes.
  • Raimunda and Paula sneak Paco's dead body out of their apartment and over to the nearby empty restaurant where Raimunda manages to dump it into a large chest freezer (the suspense is in that they might get caught, but this is played somewhat lightly).
  • We hear that Sole is afraid of the dead, so when she arrives at her aunt's place after the latter has just died, she slowly walks in. She then hear noises, sees the shadow of someone coming down the stairs, and then sees it's her mom, causing her to run away (thinking it's a ghost -- but this is all played lightly on the part of the film).
  • Agustina tells the story of hearing a knock on her door, then a voice calling her name, and then going over to Tia Paula's and finding the door open, all of which led to her finding the recently deceased woman (played lightly on the part of the film).
  • Sole hears her mother telling her to let her out of the car, and Sole cautiously does so (thinking it's her ghost again, also played lightly).
  • We hear that Agustina has cancer.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Kitchen Knife: Used to kill someone accidentally (we don't see the act, but do see the bloody aftermath).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You and your aunt are getting on my f*cking nerves," "You treated her like sh*t," "I didn't know you liked p*ssy," "Muff diving," "Bloody (hell)" "That freaks me out," "I have to piss" and "Farting her ass off."
  • We see miscellaneous graffiti.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 1 "s" word, 1 slang term for female genitals ("p*ssy"), 1 ass, 1 hell, 3 uses of "Good Lord" and 1 use each of "G-damn," "Christ," "Christ Almighty," "For Christ's sakes" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • The camera briefly focuses on Raimunda and Sole's clothed butts at a car.
  • Raimunda shows cleavage (sometimes a lot) in various outfits throughout the film (including an overhead shot looking directly down into its abundance). Others, including a hooker neighbor (who shows a lot), also show varying amounts.
  • As 14-year-old Paula is sprawled out in an adjacent chair on the phone with her legs spread in her short skirt, Paco (her father) stares at her crotch (that we see in close-up, but it's clothed). Later, he stops in the hallway to peer into her partly open door where he sees her dressing. We see her bare back and the full side of a bare breast (she doesn't seem him, but senses someone there, although when she finally looks, he's gone).
  • We see a torso and up shot of Paco kissing all over Raimunda (face, chest, neck, etc.) in bed. She's not in the mood, but he continues and then climbs on top of her after she says she's tired (with him saying he'll do all of the work). She calls him a pest and then apologizes, but rolls over only to hear him masturbating (we briefly see suggested arm movement, but the camera than focuses on her shocked/disgusted/confused face as she hears him climax.
  • Raimunda finds Paula acting oddly, and when they return home, she finds out why. Paula explains she was in the kitchen when Paco, who was drunk, came up behind her and came on to her, including unzipping his pants. She then pulled a knife as a warning, but he didn't believe her, saying he wasn't her father and then attacked her, resulting in her stabbing him (we hear about, but don't see any of that).
  • Raimunda arrives at her sister's place and twice states she has to "piss" (Sole tells Paula that when they were kids they just went in the yard). We then see Raimunda sit on the toilet (we briefly see the side of her bare butt) and pulls her panties down between her thighs (we hear the sound of her urinating).
  • Raimunda shows a lot of cleavage in her tight slip.
  • Raimunda's friend says that with her drinks and Raimunda's cleavage, they should start working nights and liven up the place (a joke about being prostitutes).
  • Raimunda lies to the restaurant owner that a prospective buyer wants to use the place as a front for drugs or prostitution (but she then comes clean about that).
  • Raimunda offers to pay a prostitute ("like any other client") to help her do something (dispose of a body, but she doesn't tell her that), prompting the woman to say she didn't know Raimunda liked "p*ssy." Raimunda says she doesn't, prompting the hooker to say if it isn't "muff diving" then what.
  • Spoiler Alert: We hear that Raimunda's father raped her in the past, resulting in her being pregnant with Paula, her daughter and half-sister.
  • Irene asks Raimunda if she's always had such a big chest, wondering if she had any work done (Raimunda says she hasn't).
  • SMOKING
  • A miscellaneous person smokes, as does someone on TV.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • There's talk of Raimunda's parents burning to death in their sleep (sometime in the past).
  • Raging wildfires are shown on TV and Raimunda turns that off (due to her parents having died in a fire a while back).
  • We hear that Agustina's mother disappeared three years ago, and Agustina wonders what happened to her and whether she's alive or dead.
  • Raimunda finds Paula acting oddly, and when they return home, she finds out why. Paula explains she was in the kitchen when Paco, who was drunk, came up behind her and came on to her, including unzipping his pants. She then pulled a knife as a warning, but he didn't believe her, saying he wasn't her father and then attacked her, resulting in her stabbing and accidentally killing him (we hear about, but don't see any of that).
  • Sole calls and informs Raimunda that their aunt has died. Due to what's occurred at home, Raimunda says she can't go to the funeral.
  • Irene says her husband cheated on her every day until her death.
  • We hear that Sole's husband has been gone for two years.
  • Raimunda tells Paula that Paco was not her biological father, but doesn't identify the real father to her (although she says she'll tell her).
  • Irene tells Paula that Raimunda left her (Irene) when Raimunda was a teen and that the girl didn't love her.
  • Agustina tells Raimunda that her mother was having an affair with Raimunda's father and that her mother's disappearance is somehow connected to the death of Raimunda's parents (both occurred on the same day).
  • Raimunda sees her mom at Sole's place, is upset, and leaves.
  • Spoiler Alert: We hear that Raimunda's father raped her in the past, resulting in her being pregnant with Paula, her daughter and half-sister.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Death and dying.
  • Incest.
  • Mother/daughter relationships.
  • Raimunda telling Paula she (Raimunda) will take the rap for the accidental killing.
  • Drug use.
  • We hear that Agustina has cancer.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see the bloody aftermath of Paula having accidentally killed her stepfather with a kitchen knife (when he was coming on to her sexually - neither that nor the death is seen).
  • Spoiler Alert: We hear that Raimunda's father raped her in the past, resulting in her being pregnant with Paula, her daughter and half-sister.
  • Spoiler Alert: Irene admits that she caught her husband and Agustina's mother having an affair, so she set their place on fire, killing the adulterous couple.



  • Reviewed December 4, 2006 / Posted December 29, 2006

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