Parallel Mothers (Spanish: Madres paralelas) is a 2021 Spanish drama film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. The film stars Penélope Cruz and Milena Smit and features Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Israel Elejalde, Julieta Serrano and Rossy de Palma.

Parallel Mothers
Theatrical release poster
SpanishMadres paralelas
Directed byPedro Almodóvar
Written byPedro Almodóvar
Produced byAgustín Almodóvar
CinematographyJ. L. Alcaine
Edited byTeresa Font
Music byAlberto Iglesias
Distributed bySony Pictures Entertainment Iberia
Release dates
  • 1 September 2021 (2021-09-01) (Venice)
  • 8 October 2021 (2021-10-08) (Spain)
Running time
120 minutes[1]
Box office$21.4 million[2]

The film had its premiere as the opening film of the 78th Venice International Film Festival on 1 September 2021 where Cruz was awarded the Volpi Cup for Best Actress. It was released theatrically in Spain on 8 October 2021 by Sony Pictures Releasing International. It was also the closing film of the 2021 New York Film Festival on the same day.[3] The film earned two nominations at the 94th Academy Awards for Best Actress (Cruz) and Best Original Score (Iglesias).[4]

Plot edit

Photographer Janis Martínez does a photo shoot with renowned forensic archaeologist Arturo. She asks him if his foundation will help excavate a mass grave in her home village, where her great-grandfather and other men from the village were killed and buried during the Spanish Civil War. Arturo agrees to review the case with his foundation; he and Janis then sleep together and Janis becomes pregnant. She decides to keep the baby and raise it alone, against Arturo's wishes, whose wife is undergoing chemotherapy, but who wants to be with Janis.

Janis later shares a hospital room with Ana, a teen single mother; they give birth at the same time. After both babies are held for evaluation, they are released, and Janis and Ana go their separate ways. Janis and Ana stay in touch, keeping one another updated on their babies' progress. Arturo arrives one day asking to see baby Cecilia; he reacts strangely, confessing that he does not believe the baby is his. Janis does a maternity test, which reveals that she is not Cecilia's biological mother, but she decides not to tell anyone.

Months later, Janis runs into Ana working at a cafe near her home; Ana has left her mother's home to fend for herself after her mother left to pursue acting on the road. Janis invites Ana up to her apartment, where Ana tearfully reveals that her baby Anita has suffered a crib death. Janis asks for a photo of Anita, which confirms her suspicions that their babies were swapped in the hospital.

Janis later offers Ana a job as a live-in maid, watching over the house and baby Cecilia. She collects saliva samples from the two of them without telling Ana they are for a maternity test, the results of which confirm that Cecilia is Ana's daughter. Ana later reveals that her pregnancy was the result of a gang rape by her classmates, and her father pressured her into staying silent to avoid negative press attention. The budding relationship between Janis and Ana develops into a casual sexual relationship, but Janis is unable to commit fully to Ana who wants more from her.

Arturo arrives with news that his foundation has approved the excavation of the mass grave, and also that his wife has recovered from cancer and they are separating. He and Janis celebrate with a night out on the town, making Ana jealous. Ana's mother also comes by to reconnect with Ana, admitting to Janis that she feels like a terrible mother, but that she wanted so badly to pursue her dream as an actress.

Janis finally admits the truth to Ana, who reacts angrily and leaves in the night with Cecilia, to Janis' dismay. She calls Arturo and breaks the news to him as well; he spends the night with her, as they console each other. The next morning, Ana calls Janis, having calmed down, and says that Janis is still welcome to see Cecilia and be a part of her life.

Months later, Janis and Arturo travel to her home village, where he gathers information about the grave from surviving relatives and prepares for the excavation with his team. Ana later arrives with Cecilia, Janis revealing to her that she is three months pregnant. When asked what she will name the baby, Janis says Ana if it is a girl and Antonio if it is a boy (after her great-grandfather). The excavation is a success, the village gathering at the exhumed grave to mourn their lost loved ones.

Cast edit

Production edit

In February 2021 it was announced that Pedro Almodóvar was ready to direct his new film entitled Madres paralelas, with a cast headed by Penélope Cruz, Israel Elejalde, Julieta Serrano and Rossy de Palma.[8] On 12 March 2021, it was reported that Pedro Almodóvar intended to integrate Anya Taylor-Joy into the main cast of the film.[9]

Principal photography began on 12 March 2021 in Madrid, Spain,[10][11][12] and concluded on 22 April 2021.[13] Shooting locations included Madrid, Torrelaguna and Torremocha de Jarama.[14] Produced by El Deseo and Remotamente Films AIE with the support of RTVE and Netflix, the movie also received funding from the ICAA.[15]

Music edit

Release edit

On 4 February 2021, Pathé acquired the UK distribution rights to the film.[16] On 23 April 2021, Sony Pictures Classics acquired the North American, Australian and New Zealand distribution rights to the film.[17] The film had its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on 1 September 2021.[18] Distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment Iberia, it was intended to be theatrically released in Spain on 10 September 2021 but was postponed to 8 October.[19][20][21] It was released in the United States on 24 December 2021.[22] It was released theatrically in the United Kingdom on 28 January 2022, and was the first film released under Pathé's new term deal with Warner Bros. Pictures along with The Duke, after their distribution agreement with Disney expired on 30 June 2021.[23]

Its theatrical release poster, featuring a lactating nipple, was removed from Instagram due to its rules regarding nudity. The decision was criticized by the "free the nipple" movement, leading to an apology from Instagram.[24]

Netflix acquired the exclusive distribution rights for the Latin-American region, aiming for an early 2022 release, even if theatrical openings were not ruled out at the time of the announcement.[25] In Argentina, the film premiered in select theatres on 3 February 2022, fifteen days prior to streaming.[26]

Themes edit

Prior to making this film, Almodóvar had typically avoided the Spanish Civil War as subject matter for his films.[27] In Almodóvar's own words, "It was as though Franco never existed."[27] One other exception was a brief moment in Live Flesh (1997), when a young prostitute (also played by Cruz) gives birth specifically on the day in 1970 (December 4, 1970[28]) when Spain announced a state of exception further limiting citizens' rights.[27] In contrast, his script for Parallel Mothers speaks explicitly of the need to confront Spain's past: "I speak through the voice of Penelope [Cruz]... She's speaking the truth about Spain," whereas Ana's resistance to examining that past is "almost like a cliché narrative for the right wing, which reveals that Ana is coming from a very conservative background."[27] An earlier draft of the script overtly gave Ana a background in the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei.[27]

Reception edit

Critical response edit

Cruz's performance garnered widespread critical acclaim and earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

At its opening night world premiere, the movie received a nine-minute standing ovation from Venice Film Festival attendees in the Sala Grande.[29] It was submitted to be the Spanish entry to the 94th Academy Awards alongside Mediterraneo: The Law of the Sea and The Good Boss, but the latter film was the final official selection.[30]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 96% of 226 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.1/10. The website's consensus reads: "A brilliant forum for Penélope Cruz's talent, Parallel Mothers reaffirms the familiar pleasures of Almodóvar's filmmaking while proving he's still capable of growth."[31] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 88 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[32]

Accolades edit

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Venice International Film Festival 11 September 2021 Golden Lion Pedro Almodóvar Nominated [33]
Queer Lion Nominated
Volpi Cup for Best Actress Penélope Cruz Won
Hollywood Music in Media Awards 17 November 2021 Score - Independent Film (Foreign Language) Alberto Iglesias Won [34]
Forqué Awards 11 December 2021 Best Fiction or Animation Film Nominated [35]
Best Film Actress Penélope Cruz Nominated
Cinema and Education in Values Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 18 December 2021 Best Actress Penélope Cruz Won [36]
Best Music/Score Alberto Iglesias Won
National Society of Film Critics Awards 8 January 2022 Best Actress Penélope Cruz Won [37]
Best Screenplay Pedro Almodovar Runner-up
Golden Globe Awards 9 January 2022 Best Foreign Language Film Parallel Mothers Nominated [38]
Best Original Score Alberto Iglesias Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards 10 January 2022 Best Actress Penélope Cruz Won [39][40]
Best Original Screenplay Pedro Almodóvar Nominated
Best Foreign Language Film Won
San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle Awards 10 January 2022 Best Actress Penélope Cruz Nominated [41][42]
Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Austin Film Critics Association Awards 11 January 2022 Best Actress Penélope Cruz Nominated [43][44]
Best International Film Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards 16 January 2022 Best Actress Penélope Cruz Runner-up [45]
AACTA International Awards 26 January 2022 Best Actress Penélope Cruz Nominated [46][47]
Feroz Awards 29 January 2022 Best Drama Film Agustín Almodóvar, Esther García Nominated [48]
Best Director Pedro Almodóvar Nominated
Best Actress in a Film Penélope Cruz Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Film Aitana Sánchez-Gijón Won
Milena Smit Nominated
Best Original Soundtrack Alberto Iglesias Won
Best Trailer Alberto Leal Nominated
Best Poster Javier Jaén (for the Poster A) Won
London Critics' Circle Film Awards 6 February 2022 Actress of the Year Penélope Cruz Nominated [49][50]
77th CEC Medals 9 February 2022 Best Film Nominated [51]
Best Director Pedro Almodóvar Nominated
Best Actress Penélope Cruz Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Milena Smit Nominated
Best Cinematography José Luis Alcaine Nominated
Best Score Alberto Iglesias Nominated
Goya Awards 12 February 2022 Best Film Parallel Mothers Nominated [52][53]
Best Director Pedro Almodóvar Nominated
Best Actress Penélope Cruz Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Aitana Sánchez-Gijón Nominated
Milena Smit Nominated
Best Cinematography José Luis Alcaine Nominated
Best Art Direction Antxón Gomez Nominated
Best Sound Sergio Bürmann, Laia Casanovas, Marc Orts Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Awards 19 February 2022 Best Picture Parallel Mothers Nominated [54]
Best Actress Penélope Cruz Nominated
Best Foreign Language Film Parallel Mothers Nominated
César Awards 25 February 2022 Best Foreign Film Parallel Mothers Nominated [55]
Independent Spirit Awards 6 March 2022 Best International Film Parallel Mothers Nominated [56]
BAFTA Awards 13 March 2022 Best Film Not in the English Language Parallel Mothers Nominated [57]
Actors and Actresses Union Awards 14 March 2022 Best Film Actress in a Leading Role Penélope Cruz Nominated [58]
Best Film Actress in a Secondary Role Aitana Sánchez-Gijón Nominated
Dorian Awards 17 March 2022 Best LGBTQ Film Nominated [59]
Best Non-English Language Film Nominated
Best Film Performance Penélope Cruz Nominated
Satellite Awards 2 April 2022 Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Penélope Cruz Nominated [60]
Best Original Screenplay Pedro Almodóvar Nominated
Best Original Score Alberto Iglesias Nominated
Academy Awards 27 March 2022 Best Actress Penélope Cruz Nominated [4]
Best Original Score Alberto Iglesias Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards 2 April 2022 Outstanding Film – Limited Release Parallel Mothers Won [61]
Fotogramas de Plata 4 April 2022 Best Spanish Film (according to readers) Won [62]
Best Film Actress Penélope Cruz Won
Platino Awards 1 May 2022 Best Ibero-American Film Nominated [63][64]
Best Director Pedro Almodóvar Nominated
Best Original Score Alberto Iglesias Won
Best Actress Penélope Cruz Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Aitana Sánchez-Gijón Won
Milena Smit Nominated
Art Direction Antxón Gómez Won
European Film Awards 10 December 2022 Best Actress Penélope Cruz Nominated [65]

See also edit

References edit

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  2. ^ "Parallel Mothers (2021)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  3. ^ "'Madres paralelas', la nueva película de Almodóvar, llegará a la cartelera un mes más tarde". ABC (in Spanish). 23 August 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b Grantham-Philips, Wyatte; Moreau, Jordan (8 February 2022). "Oscar Nominations 2022: The Complete List". Variety.
  5. ^ "5 cosas que tenes que saber sobre "Madres paralelas", la nueva película de Penélope Cruz". Via País. 30 November 2021.
  6. ^ Estrada, Javier (9 October 2021). "5 razones para no perderse 'Madres paralelas', lo nuevo de Almodóvar con Penélope Cruz". Metrópoli – via El Mundo.
  7. ^ Gayoso, Ana (23 October 2021). "Las conexiones gallegas de la nueva película de Almodóvar". Quincemil – via El Español.
  8. ^ Lang, Jamie (4 February 2021). "Penelope Cruz to Star in Pedro Almodóvar's Upcoming Feature 'Madres paralelas,' Filming in March". Variety. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  9. ^ Agencias/AP (12 March 2021). "Anya Taylor-Joy, en la mira de Pedro Almodóvar". El Imparcial (in Mexican Spanish). Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  10. ^ Ratner-Arias, Sigal (12 March 2021). "Almodóvar returns to the female universe with Penélope Cruz". ABC News. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  11. ^ Europa Press (5 February 2021). "Revelan reparto de 'Madres Paralelas', la nueva película de Almodóvar". La Jornada (in Mexican Spanish). Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  12. ^ Claudio M. de Prado (22 March 2021). "Pedro Almodóvar inicia el rodaje de 'Madres paralelas', su nueva película". Revista CQ (in European Spanish). Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Film and TV Projects Going Into Production - Parallel Mothers". Variety Insight. Archived from the original on 16 May 2021. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  14. ^ "Madres paralelas". Catálogo de Cinespañol. ICAA. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Pedro Almodóvar finaliza el rodaje de 'Madres paralelas', que cuenta con el apoyo de RTVE y Netflix". Audiovisual451. 2 June 2021.
  16. ^ "Pathe UK".
  17. ^ Ravindran, Manori (23 April 2021). "Sony Pictures Classic Swoops for Pedro Almodóvar's 'Parallel Mothers'". Variety. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  18. ^ Ritman, Alex (19 July 2021). "Venice Film Festival to Open with Pedro Almodovar's 'Madres Paralelas'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
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  22. ^ Lattanzio, Ryan (26 July 2021). "Parallel Mothers' First Footage: Pedro Almodóvar Directs Penélope Cruz in a Swoon-Worthy Mommy Drama". IndieWire. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
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  24. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (11 August 2021). "Instagram Apologizes to Pedro Almodóvar for Venice Opener 'Parallel Mothers' Poster Censorship". Variety.
  25. ^ Hopewell, John; Lang, Jamie (2 November 2021). "Netflix Acquires Pedro Almodovar's 'Parallel Mothers' for Latin America (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  26. ^ Scholz, Pablo O. (20 January 2022). "Una buena noticia. Madres paralelas, de Pedro Almodóvar se estrena en cines antes que en Netflix". Clarín.
  27. ^ a b c d e Kohn, Eric (11 October 2021). "'Parallel Mothers': Why It Took Over 40 Years for Pedro Almodovar to Confront Spain's Darkest Chapter". IndieWire. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  28. ^ Eder, Richard (5 December 1970). "Spain puts curbs on a Basque area". The New York Times. No. Vol. CXX, No. 41, 223. p. 1, 14. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  29. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (1 September 2021). "Pedro Almodóvar's 'Parallel Mothers' Brings Lido To Its Feet With Nine-Minute Standing Ovation – Venice". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  30. ^ Cabanelas, Lucía M. (5 October 2021). "La Academia aparta a Almodóvar y confía los Oscar a 'El buen patrón' de León de Aranoa". abcplay. ABC.
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  32. ^ "Parallel Mothers". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc.
  33. ^ "French director Audrey Diwan, actress Penelope Cruz awarded with top Venice Film Festival prizes". USA Today. 11 September 2019.
  34. ^ Grein, Paul (4 November 2021). "Ariana Grande, Beyonce & More Vie for Hollywood Music in Media Awards: Complete Film Nominations List". Billboard. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
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  36. ^ Shanfeld, Ethan; Murphy, J. Kim (18 December 2021). "'Drive My Car' and 'The Power of the Dog' Win Top Prizes at L.A. Film Critics Association Awards 2021 (Full List)". Variety.
  37. ^ White, Abbey (8 January 2022). "'Drive My Car' Named Best Picture by National Society of Film Critics". Hollywood Reporter.
  38. ^ Jordan, Moreau (13 December 2021). "Golden Globes 2022: The Complete Nominations List". Variety. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  39. ^ Neglia, Matt (7 January 2022). "The 2021 San Diego Film Critics Society (SDFCS) Nominations".
  40. ^ Murray, Rebecca (10 January 2022). "San Diego Film Critics 2021 Winners: 'The Power of the Dog' is Named Best Film".
  41. ^ Mulholland, Paddy (7 January 2022). "Nominations announced for the 2021 San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle awards". Screen on Screen.
  42. ^ "'The Power Of The Dog' Tops San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle'S 2021 Awards". 11 January 2022.
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  45. ^ "The 2021 Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA) Winners". Next Best Picture. 16 January 2022.
  46. ^ "'Belfast' & 'The Power of the Dog' Lead Australia's AACTA International Awards Nominations – Full List". 17 December 2021.
  47. ^ Tabbbara, Mona (28 January 2022). "'The Power Of The Dog' leads winners at Australian Academy's AACTA International Awards". ScreenDaily.
  48. ^ "Palmarés completo de los Premios Feroz Zaragoza 2022". Cinemanía. 30 January 2022 – via
  49. ^ Ritman, Alex (16 December 2021). "London Critics' Circle Film Awards: 'Power of the Dog' Leads Pack of Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter.
  50. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (6 February 2022). "The Power of the Dog' Dominates London Critics' Circle Film Awards". Variety.
  51. ^ "'El amor en su lugar' arrasa en las Medallas CEC con hasta seis premios, todos los principales". Cine con Ñ. 10 February 2022.
  52. ^ "'El buen patrón' bate el récord histórico de los Goya con 20 nominaciones". RTVE (in Spanish). 29 November 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  53. ^ Hopewell, John; Mayorga, Emilio (12 February 2022). "Javier Bardem, 'The Good Boss' Top Spain's 2022 Goya Awards". Variety.
  54. ^ Darling, Cary (3 January 2022). "'The Power of the Dog' takes a bite out of Houston Film Critics Society's nominations". Houston Chronicle.
  55. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (26 January 2022). "Adam Driver, 'Annette,' Celine Dion Biopic and 'Lost Illusions' Lead France's Cesar Nominations". Variety.
  56. ^ Lang, Brent; Tangcay, Jazz (13 December 2021). "Indie Spirit Awards 2022: Full List of Nominations". Variety.
  57. ^ "Baftas 2022: the full list of nominations". The Guardian. 3 February 2022.
  58. ^ Aller, María (15 March 2022). "Premios Unión de Actores 2022: 'El buen patrón' arrasa entre los premiados". Fotogramas.
  59. ^ Beresford, Trilby (23 February 2022). "Dorian Film Awards: 'The Power of the Dog' Leads Nominations From LGBTQ Entertainment Critics". The Hollywood Reporter.
  60. ^ Anderson, Erik (1 December 2021). "'Belfast,' 'The Power of the Dog' lead 26th Satellite Awards nominations". AwardsWatch. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  61. ^ Tapp, Tom (19 January 2022). "GLAAD Media Awards Nominations: HBO/HBO Max Leads With 19; Netflix Close Behind". Deadline Hollywood.
  62. ^ Silvestre, Juan (4 April 2022). "Fotogramas de Plata 2021: todos los premiados". Fotogramas.
  63. ^ ""El buen patrón" y la serie argentina "El reino", los más nominados a los Premios Platino". Telam. 31 March 2022.
  64. ^ "'El buen patrón' reina en los Premios Platino del cine iberoamericano". 2 May 2022.
  65. ^ Bergeson, Samantha (8 November 2022). "'Close,' 'Triangle of Sadness,' and 'Holy Spider' Lead European Film Award Nominations". IndieWire.

External links edit