Mujeres Al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) is a wild and ridiculous comedic drama written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. And by ridiculous, I mean in a great fun way. It’s the film that first brought Almodóvar international recognition, being nominated for the 1989 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and winning the Goya Awards for Best Film.
The movie revolves around three neurotic women who all have a relationship with the same man. Pepe is an actress who does TV commercials and dubs foreign films. She is having an affair with her co-worker, Ivan. Ivan one day suddenly disappears. Pepa assumes he has gone to be with his wife who has just been released from a mental hospital. Ivan’s wife thinks he has left to be with Pepa. Little do they both know that Ivan has left them both for their attorney.
Throw in Pepa’s friend who is on the run from the law after having a foursome with a group of Shiite terrorists and unknowingly harboring them before an attempted terrorist plot. Ivan’s son, played by Antonio Banderas, and his girlfriend also find themselves in the mix. And soon, all the characters collide in a story filled with twists and turns.
Does it sound outrageous? Well, it is a completely outrageous and fascinating farce. The movie starts off really slow, and then gradually picks up speed into an uncontrollable roller coaster ride. Almodóvar has an ability to immerse you in his own worlds filled with eccentric characters. The movie has a unique feel with light blues and reds that remind you of an old colorized movie.
For some reason, it reminds me of Scorsese’s After Hours. I said the same thing in my review of Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother). I think it is the ridiculousness of it all. In that way, it also reminds me of another film with Antonio Banderas, Four Rooms.
If you’re looking for a fun film to practice your Spanish, you should check out Mujeres Al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios. It also is a great introduction to the world of Almodóvar. Check it out and let me know what you think.