All About My Mother

Though I disagree with reports that this is the best foreign film of the year, it is still quite a treat. A warning to sniggering hipsters: this is 100% pure, unironic melodrama. You get your shocking plot twists, your wild coincidences, your emotional outbursts. However, Almodóvar's tastes being what they are, it is a melodrama peopled by the likes of large-breasted transsexuals, lesbian actresses, a pregnant nun, prostitutes, heroin addicts... and in the middle of it all, a grieving mother (Cecilia Roth, extremely appealing) who has moved to Barcelona in search of the father of her recently deceased son.

The performances are all knockouts. Non-Spanish actresses must be green with envy, for Almodóvar is one of the few male filmmakers alive today who can consistently create rich, complex female characters. I must also mention Almodóvar's flair for filling the screen with bright, vibrant colors and patterns, as well as Alberto Iglesias' amazing score – my favorite score this year (barring Chris Farrell's for Foreign Correspondents): it's lush, orchestral, dramatic, jazzy, and very Spanish.