Julieta | Film review - Pedro Almodóvar reins back the camp for a grief-stricken melodrama

Julieta Adriana Ugarte

Pedro Almodóvar's reins back the camp for Julieta, a grief-stricken melodrama based on three short stories by Alice Munro.

Julieta Emma Suarez

A middle-aged woman looks back at the tangled and sometimes tragic events that have shaped her life in this visually sumptuous, emotionally resonant melodrama from Spanish maestro Pedro Almodóvar, Julieta.

Adapting three stories by Canadian author Alice Munro and transplanting their narrative from North America to Spain, Almodóvar gives the story a distinctly Iberian stamp but reins in his more extravagant directorial flourishes. Indeed, there’s no trace of the camp of his last film, frantic aerial farce I'm So Excited, as Emma Suarez’s heartsore Julieta (played as a younger woman by Adriana Ugarte) remembers her past, seeking to understand the cause of her estrangement from her long-lost daughter.

Julieta Adriana Ugarte

Switching back and forth between past and present, Almodóvar draws us deeper and deeper into Julieta’s grief while delivering some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Yet even if the mood is sombre, the film still looks gorgeous - and so do the costumes.


Certificate 15. Runtime 95 mins. Director Pedro Almodóvar

Julieta is released on Blu-ray & DVD on 9 January, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox & Pathé.


Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.