Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Review: Mar Adentro & Volver . . .

So why post a review on these two particular movies? Well, I usually like to post about interesting and significant things in my life. And guess what? These two movies are the very first foreign films that I’ve ever watched! A post worthy topic in and of itself! :)

The two films are Mar Adentro (“The Sea Inside”) by Alejandro Amenábar and Volver by Pedro Almodóvar and they were highly recommended by Sandra and Maria from Slow Travel. Both movies were filmed in Spain and since I’ll be traveling there later in the year, they thought these movies would be great for me to watch. They were right!

I’m not quite sure exactly how to describe each movie other than to say that the story lines were complicated, thoughtful, sad, quirky, serious, humorous, poignant and strongly centered around human behavior to include friendship, family, love and forgiveness. It touched upon personal relationships, disagreements, life struggles, tragedies of abuse and individual feelings about life and the choices we make, even to live or die. Both films were outstanding in dealing with these issues.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the performances by Penelope Cruz (didn’t realize that she could sing so well) and Javier Bardem. The supporting cast were also all very good in both films. I thought they were both written and directed extremely well and I really loved watching them.

Thanks so much Maria and Sandra for recommending these two outstanding films!


  1. Hi Kathy!
    I'm glad you enjoyed Volver -- I found it so funny in places, so incredibly poignant in other places. I love the friendships between women in Almodovar's films and Penelope Cruz is an entirely different sort of actress in Spanish-language films than she seems to be in English-language films.

    I have to confess that I've been afraid to watch The Sea Inside. I love Javier Bardem, but the premise of the film sounds so sad. But I'm going to suck it up, and see the film as soon as I can get it from Zip (Canada's version of Netflix)

    Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. I'm sooo happy to hear that you liked both movies! There's some fine acting in both movies. Penelope is amazing in Volver and Bardem in Mar Adentro is just brilliant. The fact that the latter is based on a true story makes this movie so powerful and moving.

    What's next on your Netflix queue? I'm expecting South from Granada tomorrow and watched over the weekend In Bruges but did not like it that much, except the scenery.

    94 days! ¡Noventa y cuatro días!

  3. I have heard Volver but not Mar Adentro. I love foreign films and will have to add these to my list. Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. Still looking at your San Gimignano, pic up on the right hand corner. :)

    I'll be on planes next week. Mom broke her shoulder and I am going up to give my sister a hand with her.

  5. Hi Sandra, Almodovar has a very interesting story telling ability. When you can fuse humor and all the wide range of emotions and very serious subject matters together in one film, that's talent. I too, laughed in places and then felt sad and surprised in others. I can see why Volver is an award winning movie.

    I won't give out the details on the Sea Inside, but I think you will enjoy watching it. The premise is sad but it is dealt with in such a smart manner. And the performances by Bardem and the entire supporting cast and Cinematography was excellent!

    Thanks again for your recommendation on Volver!

  6. Hi Maria, yes I abosolutely enjoyed both films a lot. All the supporting cast members were excellent. I really liked Mabel Rivera who played Sampedro's sister in law, Manuela a lot too. She was so believable. She was excellent in this movie. I also enjoyed the scenery in Mar Adentro.

    I just mailed out Mar Adentro and next in my queue is Habla Con Ella by Pedro Almodóvar. He's an interesting screenwriter so I'm looking forward to watching it.

    Thanks so much Maria! My first experience watching foriegn films and it's a definite winner!

  7. Hi Girasoli, Volver was excellent and so was Mar Adentro so you definitely have to watch them too.

    I can't believe that I was missing so much by not watching foreign films. In fact when I went to find these films at my nearby Blockbuster store, I went through all the aisles and could not find the Foreign Films section. I finally had to ask and the guy brought me to this one aisle and all the foreign films was located on one small shelf! At first I thought maybe it is continued from the back of the self and discovered that it did not. Yikes. My co-worker suggested that I also watch a film called Amélie too! I'm definitely inspired.

    Thanks for your comments. Enjoy the movies!

  8. Hi Leslie, I'm glad you really enjoy my San Gimignano photo. It's one of my favorites. It's a beautiful town. Me and my friend took a bus from Siena and spent the day there. I would love to return one day and spend more time there.

    I'm sorry to hear about our mom's injury. That's nice that you're heading there to help her and give your sister a hand.

    My best wishes to your mom for a speedy recovery.

    Safe travels!

  9. HI Kathy, thanks for the recommendations. I haven't watched a ton of foreign films but I've really liked the ones I've seen.

    I just recently watched an Italian film, "Life Is Beautiful" after reading about it on Anne's blog. Wonderful movie (funny, sad, and moving) and Netflix has it if you want to take a break from Spain.

    Have a great week!

  10. Kathy,

    I rarely watch Hollywood produced movies. I signed-up to Netflix years ago because I couldn't find foreign movies for rental in my local video store. I've watched a ton of Italian movies. Two of my favorites are Cinema Paradiso and Il Postino. The Star Maker was filmed in Sicily and it's also a favorite. Amelie is a sweet movie and also A very Long Engagement. The lead role in both movies is played by Audrey Tautou. There are so many wonderful foreign films to choose from in Netflix! I recently saw a delightful Iranian movie titled Children of Heaven. The acting by the two children is just brilliant and the story line is heartwarming.

    Keeping an eye on that counter: 93 days!

  11. Hi Annie, thanks so much for your comments. Although I really must give the credit to Sandra & Maria for these two recommendations. I definitely think you would enjoy watching them too if you get a chance to see them.

    I can't believe that I have never watched a foreign film before now so I really need to catch up with some of the great ones out there. I think I remember that entry on Anne's blog. I will definitely add "Life is Beautiful" to my queue. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

    Thanks Annie, you have a great week too!

  12. Hi Maria, I think I'm really liking Netflix a lot (and there's no late fee penalty).

    I think I have become a new fan of these great foreign films.

    Thanks so much for recommending Cinema Paradiso, Il Postino and Star Maker. And Children of Heaven sounds really good too! I'll add all of them to my queue along with Life is Beautiful. After Habla con ella I have nothing else in my queue, so now I have more things to add! :)

    Have a great week!

    Noventa y tres días! Whoo Hoo!

  13. Those movies sound really interesting, I will have to see if I can find them.

    Yes, definitely watch "Life is Beautiful"...such an amazing movie.

    Another foreign film I highly recommend is Guillermo Del Toro's El Laberinto del fauno (Pan's Labyrinth), which is a Spanish film. A fascinating movie, sort of a fairy tale, but with mature themes as well. (my 18 yo loves it 12 yo is not allowed to watch because it's got some really frightening bits)

  14. Kathy, if you're still looking for movie ideas for your Netflix list, I'd highly recommend anything by Almodovar -- I still love Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (it must be 20years old!)

    I've been trying to see as many Italian movies as I can and recently watched Agatha and The Storm (very funny) and Christ Stopped at Eboli (quite moving, and very compelling.)

    Meanwhile, I've added The Sea Inside to my Ziplist! Thanks again for the suggestion.

    Also: I love your photo from San Gimignano -- lovely!

  15. Hi Anne, wow cool! Thanks so much for the additional recommendations in addition to Life is Beautiful. Annie spoke very highly of the movie! I added it to my queue so I'm looking forward to watching it. I shall also add Guillermo Del Toro's El Laberinto del fauno (Pan's Labyrinth).

    All these wonderful recommendations are really great! Thank you so much!

    55 Days . . .

    Have a great weekend!

  16. Hi Sandra, I'll definitely add Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to my queue and check out the other wonderful Almodovar films that are available. Netflix just mailed out Habla con ella the other day and I'm looking forward to watching another Almodovar film. He's very good!

    I haven't watched an Italian film yet, but I have a few really good recommendations to check out. I like watching movies with all kinds of storylines, and the ones that you recently watched (Agatha and The Storm and Christ Stopped at Eboli) sounds really good!

    Thanks so much for giving me these additional great films to check out. I'll add all of them to my queue. Very cool!

    Thanks also for your kind words about my photo. San Gimingnano is a very beautiful town.

    Hope you enjoy The Sea Inside (Awesome and befitting title).

    35 Days to Italy! Whoo Hoo!


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.