Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory is a personal tale full of pitfalls, promise, and heartache. Almodóvar opens up in a way we’ve never seen from him as we learn of his journey, including the demons he’s had to face. What I was amazed by is how Pain and Glory found beauty in even the darkest moments of the film. The color palette was so exquisite it was if the scenery had been dipped in magic waters. The cinematography was boldly capturing the most intricate of details down to the divots on the wall inside what was Almodóvar’s family home. For those who were holding out hope that Joaquin Phoenix was going to the nab an Oscar for Joker, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s Antonio Banderas’s year. His performance was exquisite, meticulous, with just enough vulnerability … in short, it was perfection.
Now I’m not going to sit here and sell you on how mainstream this film is, because that would be an outright lie. However, I’m not even sure calling Pain and Glory a film is accurate. This piece is more like a work of art. I realize that most will say that art is subjective, but it’s easy to ignore some of the issues you might have with Almodóvar’s piece when he gets it so right in so many ways. The blocking of each scene was perfect. Even the costuming in the film was bright yet appropriate. Alberto Iglesias’s score is so divine serving as an ideal thread binding this tale of pain and at times, the absurd. The quality of his work shouldn’t come as a shock as this is the man who gave us the score for The Kite Runner and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Overall, Pain and Glory is a release that begs to be seen but might struggle to find an audience willing to take a chance on it. My guess is once Antonio Banderas starts racking up wins in various voting guilds and begins his march to Oscar glory, that will all change.