Two women, Janis and Ana, coincide in a hospital room where they are going to give birth. Both are single and became pregnant by accident. Janis, middle-aged, doesn’t regret it and she is exultant. The other, Ana, an adolescent, is scared, repentant and traumatized. Janis tries to encourage her while they move like sleepwalkers along the hospital corridors. The few words they exchange in these hours will create a very close link between the two, which by chance develops and complicates, and changes their lives in a decisive way.
PARALLEL MOTHERS, the latest from Pedro Almodóvar, is essentially a chamber-piece, part ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER and MY DINNER WITH ANDRE. The director leaves his usual camp and irony behind to tell the luminous but down-to-earth tale of two women, played by Penélope Cruz and Milena Smit, who navigate the joy and pain of motherhood. It’s high-minded, with lots of twists and turns, with deep, philosophical conversations about Spanish history and the reckoning of it. At 71 years old, the Spanish auteur can pretty much do anything he wants and his latest is a disarmingly moving tribute to the shifting, ever-bending bonds of motherhood, to the inexorable pull of family.