(Part 22 Of An Ongoing Series)
…uno es más auténtica cuanto más se parece a lo que ha soñado de sí mismo.
(…you are more authentic the more you resemble what you’ve dreamed of being.)
Agrado (Antonia San Juan)
All About My Mother may not endure nearly as many critical swipes as fellow ’99 Oscar-winner American Beauty, but those movies’ spirits are actually quite kindred. Both films embrace bold strokes and flagrant melodrama, although My Mother‘s usually quicker to shrug past that stuff and get back to funny business (which is probably why it remains more esteemed than Beauty). Most of My Mother’s Big Moments are winking coyly at us. Like when Penelope Cruz says she’s getting tested for AIDS, we know right away that test’ll come back positive. Dramatic tension’s not the point here. Nor is it to blow your mind or re-baptize your soul. The point is sharing some tender life moments with these strong, beautiful, sensitive women; all the Douglas Sirk-telenovela curves are just there to give the film a little more shape. That’s why, despite all the contrivances, My Mother feels so auténtica: like the lovely Agrado, it’s exactly what it dreams of being.