Parallel Mothers

7.12 h 2 min2021X-RayR
*With English subtitles* Two women coincide in a hospital room where they will give birth. The few words they exchange in these hours create a close link, which develops and changes their lives in a decisive way.
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Supporting actors
Julieta Serrano
Agustín AlmodóvarEsther García
Sony Pictures Classics
R (Restricted)
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.4 out of 5 stars

623 global ratings

  1. 68% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 19% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Roger ByrdReviewed in the United States on March 7, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
The past isn't dead; it isn't even past — but Francisco Franco is still dead.
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Do you know what I'm tired of, Theresa Teske? Reading one-star reviews from illiterate bigots, which is especially galling in light of the film's moving tribute to the 100,000 Spaniards murdered under Franco's dictatorship, a regime supported by people who were a lot like you. Garcia Lorca, the playwright mentioned in the film, was one of these victims; his remains have never been located. Thank you, James Morris, for letting these nitwits have it, right in the brisket where they deserve. I've always loved Almodovar, from his early and anarchically zany films (What Did I Do To Deserve This, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) to his more somber recent films, like Bad Education, Pain and Glory, and this one. The Bernard Herrmann-like score was a nice touch.
52 people found this helpful
KEITHReviewed in the United States on February 27, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Intimate Brush strokes Over Boundaries
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"Parallel Mothers" is an artisan style crafted thriller. The romantic and pastoral beauty of Spain is intense, made real in the modern atistry, and the fine clean lines of the communities. This prosaic land, and it's current peace, is not just a history lesson, but the whole of the pleasing reality is an eye opening experience for the people in "Parallel Mothers". The irretrievable lives of the Spanish Civil War are respirating through out the movie.
Pedro Almodovar's film is a demonstration of technique-here focused insight on such pasts has provided the writer/director with an itinerary for the ability to retell twists, report ironies, and to depict secrets as they unfold. A good film is built up of these-characters which fulfill many stories within their own boundaries-which then escalate in magnetic interest when their conflicts interface. Chop away irrelevant things, then show a tale that is a harmonious line of dramatic intrigue. Janis Martinez (played by Penelope Cruz) is attracted to a forensic archaeologist (wikipedia) named Arturo. These two young professional Spaniards emote a rich landscape for a creator to cinematize, and, Arturo and Janis have a romantic encounter. This happens early on. Janis is pregnant.
In the hospital Janis meets Ana Ferreras (played by Milena Smit). This becomes an effective relationship, because Ana's life provides more fodder for dramatic hijinks. As events happen, much of the story is carried along by Janis and Ana, and its these occasions, in Spain, that the thriller is a scope into escalating or de-escalating conflicts. In short we're fascinated with these lives as incidents abound. The women, and their closest, respond as one would expect. Far be it that our struggles would be like theirs.
8 people found this helpful
QuiltyReviewed in the United States on March 17, 2022
3.0 out of 5 stars
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I've seen sixteen of Pedro Almodovar's films, eight of which are about as fine as anything by Fellini, or Truffaut, or Scorsese. Like any great movie director he isn't always up to his best, and I think I actually hated two or three of his films. Doesn't matter. Some of his best movies are about relationships between women, only when Almodovar does it he juggles parody, melodrama, and amazing plot twists until what should have been just a sappy tearjerker is a paean to the strength of women. But "Parallel Mothers" doesn't have Almodovar's special kind of madness that expands the themes in his best movies like "All About My Mother," or "Women on the Verge." And it's definitely not like his disturbing dramas like "Bad Education" or "Matador." Even Penelope Cruz can't disguise that without his satirical bite, or his blunt way of showing destroyed lives, Almodovar has given us just another well-made "woman's picture" like they show on TV.
4 people found this helpful
Matthew D'SouzaReviewed in the United States on April 23, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Almodóvar Delivers Another Beautifully Touching Spanish Melodrama!
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Another devastating masterpiece from Spain’s greatest director.

Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar’s melodrama Parallel Mothers (2021), or ‘Madres paralelas’ as it is originally titled in Spain, is a refined art piece from a true master writer and director. Pedro Almodóvar’s direction is striking with his usual visual flair and love of vibrant colors. He effortlessly takes you through his shocking melodramatic story of switched babies at birth and how children have affected two separate mothers in their tumultuous lives. His emotional connections resonate deeply as I really cared about these ladies. Every moment feels thought out and engaging from Almodóvar’s careful and loving direction that always has a cozy, warm, and inviting feel. I adored Parallel Mothers like Almodóvar’s previous pictures Volver, Broken Embraces, and Pain & Glory among his earlier classics.

Almodóvar’s writing style is very mature and thoughtful as he reflects on what it means to be a mother, a Spaniard, I found myself drawn to the tale of two women relating to one another more than the second plot about Franco era war crimes in Spain, but both narratives in Parallel Mothers are enthralling. Almodóvar delivers an emotionally devastating story about two mothers losing their children in a shocking way, two single mothers raising a child, two women falling in love in a captivating lesbian romance, and old skeletons being dug up to close the last chapter in an old Spanish war all in one film. Almodóvar takes time and patience to tell each story with grace and empathy for those involved. I am always impressed by how humanist his perspective feels, how enthralling his storytelling feels, and how tasteful his romance and drama comes across. I’m so glad producer Agustín Almodóvar keeps funding Pedro Almodóvar’s films.

Writer Pedro Almodóvar’s words bring themes of motherhood and sympathy between women back from his classic Spanish film All About My Mother for Parallel Mothers. I also noticed parallels to Almodóvar’s Volver and Pieces of a Woman with Vanessa Kirby. I hope that painful generational trauma will linger for only so long before healing over time. I hope that viewers will give Parallel Mothers a chance as it is rich with emotional clarity and mature reflectiveness in that elegant way of Almodóvar’s writing and direction.

Penélope Cruz is absolutely phenomenal as Parallel Mothers’ sympathetic and shocking heroine Janis. Cruz is absorbing as she playfully raises a baby as a caring single mother and kindly takes in a young teenage girl in a similar situation. However, Cruz also portrays Janis’ intricate guilt over her unethical actions and how she hides her emotions. She is very complex in how she has experienced tremendous pain and how Cruz displays that inner struggle is beautiful. She is as effervescent in Parallel Mothers as she always appears drop dead gorgeous. I really loved seeing Penélope Cruz bring subtle and empathetic choices to her performance as the curious Janis. Her warmth and motherly personality fit Janis so beautifully.

Milena Smit is fantastic as single mother Ana. Her traumatized single mother and teenage lesbian just trying to figure out her place in the world and her own sexuality is fascinating. Her every gaze with her translucent blue eyes is hypnotizing. I found Milena Smit incredibly nuanced and charming. Milena has an ethereal beauty and innocent face, while also capturing Ana’s jealous insecurities and romantic openness. She ensures Ana is likable and kind so that you love her. Milena Smit delivers as impressive a dramatic performance as Penélope Cruz in Parallel Mothers.

Israel Elejalde is excellent as cheating archeologist and absent father Arturo. You feel how lonesome and manipulative his character is as he is cheating on his wife with cancer. I cannot believe he gets to end up with Janis instead of Ana, which I thought would have been a much sweeter ending from Almodóvar. Aitana Sánchez-Gijón’s cold acting mother Teresa feels understandable that she wanted a career as an actress, but so cruel in how she abandons her daughter to raise her granddaughter alone. Rossy de Palma’s Elena feels so kind and open hearted. She’s so supportive and understanding of Janis’ situation and quickly offers help. She’s very sweet. Ainhoa Santamaría’s pretty blonde babysitter is quite sad. It’s funny that she doesn’t want to do anything, but you see how hurt she is when she’s told she’s no longer needed.

Editor Teresa Font cuts Parallel Mothers in a steadily moving pace with coherent storytelling consideration. The complex narrative never gets lost on you during Parallel Mothers’ 123 minutes. Cinematographer José Luis Alcaine has striking close-ups that get so close to faces, giving Parallel Mothers an intimate feel. He shoots with lovely framing and wide shots around production designer Antxón Gómez’ cute and colorful sets. The lush reds and pleasant greens everywhere are as nice as the pops of orange or pink. Art director Alejandra Loiseau brings Almodóvar’s vision to life with charming home designs and natural feeling spaces. Vicent Díaz’ set decoration has the cutest furniture and props neatly placed all around Almodóvar’s film.

Composer Alberto Iglesias’ score for Parallel Mothers is fabulous with suspenseful symphonic music ramping up tensions with the occasional jazz or Spanish theme tossed in there carefully. I love how alive and pretty Iglesias’ score is for Parallel Mothers. You’re always aware of its sonic presence as Iglesias’ music is very tense and absorbing throughout Almodóvar’s picture. Sound designers Marc Orts, Laia Casanovas, and Oriol Donat i Martos provide neat, subtle noises for each scene like Penélope’s knife hitting the wooden cutting board and other daily ambient noises.

Costume designer Paola Torres gives Penélope Cruz all these adorable, fuzzy sweaters and yoga pants that look wonderful on Cruz. Penélope always looks her best in Almodóvar’s films, no doubt. I love the different hairstyles and pretty make-up. The short, silver haircut on Milena Smit’s Ana is so lovely on her. I loved all the modern clothes and fresh style in Parallel Mothers.

In the end, Parallel Mothers will be looked back on as another beautiful Spanish film from the mighty Pedro Almodóvar with all his usual charm, heart, and grace.
Theresa A TeskeReviewed in the United States on February 21, 2022
1.0 out of 5 stars
In Spanish only
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Terrible movie. Same old story of unwed mothers who are spanish speaking. I am tired of spanish only movies being on american sites.
6 people found this helpful
Laura ScottReviewed in the United States on March 2, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Original story
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Fabulous acting!
5 people found this helpful
Dr Henry J IssenbergReviewed in the United States on February 20, 2022
1.0 out of 5 stars
Misleading audio description-- audio NOT in ENGLISH, only SPANISH!
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Unable to watch this film. Very user unfriendly & deceptive for a vision impaired audience.
Unable to get a refund online.
6 people found this helpful
Naomi GarberReviewed in the United States on March 13, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
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One of the best movies I've ever seen. I didn't want it to end.
6 people found this helpful
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