The ravishing Penelope Cruz stars in the Spanish film, Volver, which can be categorised as a ghost story, yet so full of colour and warmth. Penelope Cruz was perfect for the role of Raimunda, incredibly beautiful with the most expressive eyes yet she remains down to earth exuding a charismatic personality to the viewers. You’ll fall in love with her in an instant. Casting her was a great move as she is acting in the culture of her own.
Volver means “to turn over” or to “turn upside down” in Spanish, this is greatly manifested in the narrative with regards to Raimunda and Sole’s mother coming back and how Raimunda turns her life around after a series of adversities. Raimunda is put to the test as life brings her to different directions, and yet we see her conquer each one in the movie. She had trouble providing for her family because of her husband, Paco, who kept losing his job, and she had no choice but to work extra hard, working multiple jobs day. The audience tries to empathise with Raimunda in the obstacles she is entangled in.
Women are widely represented throughout this melodrama, giving us an overview of the many patriarchal views on women in Spain, as experienced by Raimunda and her teenage daughter, who was raped by her husband. The movie also tackled many poor aspects of humanity such as discrimination of women and sexist remarks. However, these women are portrayed to be strong, independent and empowered despite the obstacles and predicaments they are faced with. It pays homage to the important women in our lives and how vital their roles are. We see Raimunda’s character evolve as she is faced with these challenges.
This movie reminds me of the typical, conventional plot lines that could be watched on local modern day television. It explores different moods, big revelations and complex relationships. The film does not even put a spotlight on romantic love, rather it depicts a different kind of love— the love of parents and children. The significance of familial relations is evident in the movie where they visit their late parents and clean their graves, spend time with their ill aunt, Paula and their strong relationships with each other. It has heart wrenching scenes, it deals with many family dynamics, abandonment and of course, death. However, it deals with these tragedies quite lightly portraying it to the audience with exuberance.
Volver reminds us of the feeling of coming home, or the feeing of nostalgia. In order to find solutions to the present, the women have to return to their dark pasts and overcome them one way or another. In the face of lost and triumph, we see these women try to defy their misfortunes, find solutions to their problems through reunion and reconciliation and prosper in the process as the movie closes.