The pain in Spain

Penelope Cruz is very thin, but there is always something larger than life about her, and that presence is what saves Julio Medem’s Ma Ma from being just another melodrama.

Medem makes crowd-pleasing dramas with just enough pretension and stylish cinematography to get them into the lower reaches of the art-house cinema/film festival circuit. Unlike some art-house fare, where little happens, Medem’s movies tend to be overstuffed with plot. All these plot turns, which feature many coincidences, are meant to serve some larger point, usually about love, time or love over time.


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