Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Best Foreign Language Film
Academy Awards
Golden Lion
Venice Film Festival
A feminist comedy with real bite; it always brings down the house.


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

(Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios)

Part of our Anniversary Classics series. For details, visit: laemmle.com/ac.
This delightful farce was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1988 and was named best foreign film that year by both the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle.

Carmen Maura, who has been a frequent Almodovar collaborator and is Spain’s most honored contemporary actress, stars as a soap opera actress sent into a spiral of comic misfortune when her longtime lover dumps her. Almodovar had been delving into the liberating sexual politics of post-Franco Spain from his debut in 1980 in a series of scandalous black comedies (
Matador, Law of Desire, What Have I Done to Deserve This?). He employs a lighter touch with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and the film’s commercial success launched his most productive years on the international stage, culminating with his Oscar winners All About My Mother and Talk to Her. Critics of the day welcomed Almodovar’s delirious comedy of manners. The Washington Post noted, “In this glossy delight, it’s as if Doris Day had been brought forward in time and confronted with the consequences of living in sin.” The New York Times’ Vincent Canby pointed out “Mr. Almodovar sets out to charm rather than shock. That he succeeds should not come as a surprise. The common denominator of all Almodovar films, even one that winds up in an ecstatic murder-suicide pact, is their great good humor.”

Format: DCP
Anniversary Classics, Comedy, Drama
Pedro Almodóvar
Pedro Almodovar
Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano, María Barranco, Rossy de Palma
Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards
Winner, Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival
Vincent Canby, New York Times

It hasn't been Pepa's day, or even week. Ivan, her longtime lover and a male-chauvinist rat, walks out on her, leaving only a bland message on her answering machine. Planning suicide, Pepa spikes a blenderful of garden-fresh gazpacho with sleeping pills, but forgets to drink it. Pepa's suicide ...

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