The end of the decade has brought a spate of films about mourning: The Messenger, Brothers, The Lovely Bones, even Pixar’s Up — and Pedro Almodóvar’s own Broken Embraces, in which a film director still loves his leading lady 15 years after her death. But the Spanish auteur’s definitive essay on grief, and the love that feeds it, is in this liebestod drama. Two women, the bullfighter Lydia and the dancer Alicia, lie in comas in a Madrid hospital. Two men, Lydia’s lover Marco and Benigno, Alicia’s nurse, sit in abject, adoring vigil, expressing their love by keeping them clean or just conversing. You could call this the purest, most selfless form of love, or say that each man can idealize his woman now that she has been petrified into her own icon; he can talk to her because she can’t talk back. Effortlessly engrossing, never depressing, the film has heartbreak, redemption and what might be called statuary rape, plus a hilarious mid-movie explanation of the reproductive process. Talk to Her is the most satisfying movie this decade from the world’s most vital filmmaker.
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